Submitted by: Richard Sarrazin, MNO Region 5 Captain of the Hunt and MNO Sudbury Métis Council President
Across Ontario, there are thousands of abandoned mine sites that can pose a danger to people, wildlife and the environment. On May 13, 2016, Richard Sarrazin, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Region 5 Captain of the Hunt for the Mattawa/Lake Nipissing Traditional Harvesting Territory, and Dave Bell, Mineral Exploration and Development Consultant with the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM), visited Nickel Offset Mine—an old abandoned mine site located in Levack, Ontario. The mine is adjacent to Foy Ross Lake—the largest in a chain of lakes that drains into the Sand Cherry creek and hosts a natural brook trout fishery, and is located 35 kilometres northeast of Sudbury.
This abandoned mine in particular is located on Sarrazin’s trap line and has allowed him to witness first-hand the leaching of old tailings into the surrounding lakes and creeks. Having been abandoned for many years, this mine site has not been properly rehabilitated to today’s provincial standards. The MNDM was surprised to learn of the size of the site and noted that there are many potential hazards. Bell has asked the MNDM compliance department to conduct a general review of the hazards at the site, conduct tests of the tailings and take water samples to see if the site has contaminated the area. Once this assessment is completed, the MNO and MNDM will then look at a plan to rehabilitate the site.
Sarrazin is a lifelong trapper, hunter and fisherman who has extensive Métis traditional knowledge that has been passed down by his Métis ancestors over his many years of harvesting. Since 1999, Sarrazin has been involved with the MNO as the Region 5 Captain of the Hunt and as the President of the MNO Sudbury Métis Council (SMC). Today, Richard and the MNO SMC continue to pass on the Metis way-of-life to Métis people.
Published on: August 9, 2016