What is an Environmental Assessment (EA)?
The Rainy River Gold Project (RRGP or “the Project”) must meet stringent Federal and Provincial environmental assessment (EA) and permitting requirements before it can be constructed and operated.
The EA is a government-driven planning and decision-making process to evaluate a project by predicting and minimizing potential negative environmental effects before the project proceeds. An EA includes:
- A description of the proposed project,
- A description of the existing environmental conditions (baseline studies),
- Plans to involve and seek feedback from Aboriginal, community, neighbor, and other interested stakeholders,
- Consideration of project alternatives, including an evaluation of their advantages and disadvantages,
- Identification of possible environmental effects (positive or negative),
- Proposed measures to mitigate and manage identified environmental effects, and
- Recommendations for follow-up monitoring.
The EA process ensures that:
- Opportunities are provided for Aboriginal communities, municipalities, neighbors and other interested stakeholders to participate in the environmental assessment,
- Environmental factors are included in project planning and decision-making,
- Potential effects of the project are identified early, and
- Measures are identified to avoid, manage, or mitigate effects on the environment.
Rainy River Gold Project Environmental Assessment Process
Rainy River Resources has been working closely with both the Federal and Provincial Environmental Assessment agencies since 2011. The coordinated Federal and Provincial EA process entails:
- Provincial Individual Environmental Assessment: In consultation with the regulatory agencies, Rainy River Resources entered into a Voluntary Agreement with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment in May of 2012 to conduct an EA for the Project in accordance with the requirements of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act. Under this Act, an Individual EA will be completed to assess the effects of all Project components on the environment. The EA will consider effects from all Project components such as: mining, processing, treated effluent and waste management, Highway 600 re-alignment, and a 230 kV transmission line.
- Federal Environmental Assessment: In tandem with the Provincial EA, the RRGP requires the completion of a Federal EA, pursuant to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012. The Federal "Regulation Designating Physical Activities" identifies the physical activities that constitute the designated projects that could require an EA to be completed. Section 15(d) of the Regulation identifies one of the designated projects as: The construction, operation, decommissioning and abandonment of a gold mine, other than a placer mine, with an ore production capacity of 600 t/d or more. The RRGP exceeds this production rate, and the Federal Government has confirmed that an EA is required to be completed coordinated with the Provincial Individual EA. The Federal EA scope (EIS Guidelines) have been defined by the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency with the involvement of the remainder of the Federal Review Team.
The Provincially-regulated Individual EA and the Federal EA are being coordinated so that a single EA document and body of knowledge is being prepared to meet both the Federal and Provincial requirements. Consultation activities will also be coordinated as practical.
Additional Permits and Approvals
If the EAs are approved, Rainy River Resources will be required to obtain a number of environmental approvals/permits to allow the mine development to move forward, such as:
- Air emissions (required for any stationary equipment or process that may emit air contaminants),
- Water (required for water discharge and water taking),
- Fish (required if impacts on fish habitat are expected),
- Wildlife (required for potential effects related to species at risk), and
- Closure Plan (required for reclamation of the property progressively during operations or at closure).
Steps in the Provincial Individual EA Process
The first step in the process is the preparation of a Terms of Reference that will guide the environmental assessment process. A draft Terms of Reference has been prepared and was issued by Rainy River Resources for public comment. It sets out the framework and work plan for addressing the Environmental Assessment Act requirements when preparing the mine environmental assessment, including such things as the alternatives that will be considered and the proposed public consultation activities.
A final proposed Terms of Reference was submitted to the Ministry of the Environment on October 26, 2012. This document considered comments received on the draft Terms of Reference. The subsequently amended, proposed Terms of References was approved by the Minister on May 15, 2013, and provides the framework and requirements for the preparation of the environmental assessment.
The process diagram noted under “EA Process” on the right side of this page outlines the Provincial environmental assessment process for an Individual EA.
For more information on the Provincial environmental assessment process please visit:
Steps in the Federal EA Process
The Federal EA process is initiated through the submission of a Project Description by Rainy River Resources, which provides the Federal agencies with sufficient information to determine if an EA is required and to be able to prepare Guidelines to direct the completion of the EA document. Now that the Guidelines have been consulted upon, and issued to Rainy River Resources, the EA is prepared and provided in draft to the public for comment. The document is then finalized by Rainy River Resources based on comments received on the draft. Once reviewed by the Federal Review Team, a decision statement is issued as to whether the Project can proceed into construction, potentially with conditions.
For more information on the Federal environmental assessment process please visit:
OUR CONSULTATION COMMITMENT
Rainy River Resources is committed the successful development of the Rainy River Gold Project with the idea of full and open dialogue with local and regional stakeholders and citizens, including Aboriginal peoples, having an interest in our Project. We believe that the Project will benefit many if our decisions are informed by broad and meaningful consultation and dialogue with our stakeholders.
We are committed to creating and nurturing positive working relationships with our stakeholders so that we may build an understanding of each others’ needs and manage cooperatively our shared interests in the environment. Through consultation, we will work collaboratively to identify and implement opportunities for long-term benefits in our communities and economies.
Using varied and culturally appropriate engagement activities we will engage and share information in an open, honest and transparent manner. We will clarify at the outset of each engagement activity how your input will influence our project.
OUR CONSULTATION PRINCIPLES
The following principles of consultation will guide the consultation for the Rainy River Gold Project:
Early notification: Information about the project will be provided to stakeholders in a timely manner to facilitate the stakeholder consultation process.
Honest, open and transparent communication: All pertinent information about the project will be shared with stakeholders. Stakeholder input will be sought, documented, and will be addressed in the project.
Accessible: A variety of stakeholder consultation methods will be used to reach a broad range of stakeholder interests. Our materials will be written in plain language to increase understanding of the project and the environmental assessment information.
Flexible: Feedback on the stakeholder consultation process will be sought from interested individuals and stakeholders to ensure that meaningful opportunities for input are provided. Changes will be made to the public and stakeholder consultation program as necessary to reflect stakeholder needs.
Capacity Building: Where acceptable and appropriate to all parties involved, we will encourage active participation of local communities and citizens in our Project through working committees and community liaisons to facilitate information exchange.