Carmacks/Little Salmon First Nation, rejoice! You are going to participate in a live experiment involving a new mining technique called heap-leach.
What Western Copper is going to do is crush tons and tons of rock containing copper and other heavy metals. It will put these rocks on a liner and soak them with sulphuric acid.
The acid will loosen copper and other metals.
Then it will collect the sulphuric acid laden with metals and extract the copper.
The beauty of this technique is that it makes it really cheap to get the copper. Provided, of course, that nobody looks too closely at the real cost of decontaminating hundreds of tons of rock slowly leaching heavy metals onto your land.
But it is cheap for Western Copper – you know, the one making the money.
Oh, you worry about the future? You even talked to Dr. Lionel Catalan, a professor of chemical engineering at Lakehead University in Ontario, who studied ways to decontaminate a similar mining operation in Quebec before concluding there is no way to make leaching heaps safe within a reasonable time frame and for a reasonable cost.
In fact, he told you that you might well be looking at 100 years of water treatment for a mining operation that is going to last roughly eight years.
Oh well, my friends, a few risks are always involved in novelty.
True, the mine site will be located only 15 kilometres from the Yukon River on a small tributary and the leaching of copper and other metals could involve the destruction of the salmon and other fish that are so important to your food and traditions.
But hey, have no doubts that Ottawa – think of it like God in Heaven – will have enough money (your money, and other taxpayers’ money) for hundreds of years to clean up and maintain all the toxic mining legacy of the Yukon – the old ones and the one being created right now.
You need to have faith. Blind faith.
You have no say anyways because you have been consulted. Ahhh … the magic words. It would be more correct, since you have no legal means to stop or change the project, to say that you have been notified.
But we like politically correct talk in Canada, so let’s just say that you have been consulted.
Consequently, if you do not agree with the project you are the villains hurting the gentle mining company that just wants to make your life better! Think about all the wonderful things that you will be able to buy with the money from the jobs that a few of you are going to get.
Eight years of
jobs, maybe 10. Just imagine, you will even be able to pay off half the leasing of your new truck. Not great? How can you not be excited?
What are you trying to say? Preserving your land is more important than money? Some things are priceless and not for sale?
You must be kidding.
Everything is for sale in the Yukon Party’s Yukon, including people’s futures.