No more mines in our valley
It is with great sadness and utter disbelief that I read the articles in our local papers concerning the opening of a new coal mine in the upper Elk Valley. I remember reading a “letter to the editor” a few months ago; in it, the writer stated, “now that the pressure to mine the Flathead Valley is off, it will be redirected to the upper Elk Valley.” How right he was. Another coal mine! How many more mines will be established before our government sees the light?
Why does the map in the The Free Press not show the true location of this new mine? It does not show that the mining area is situated between three watersheds: Forsythe Creek, Bingay Creek and the Elk River. Centermount, the company planning the new mine, wants us to believe that no selenium will leach into any of these watersheds or the environment; I very much doubt that. As stated in one local paper, “the Elk River already has issues with selenium.”
From what I understand, there are large coal reserves under the Elk River. So after 15 years, Centermount plans to mine underground. Underground? Where are these mine shafts and tunnels going to go? Underneath the three watersheds? How could the Ministry of Environment possibly allow this? If in fact this is Centermount’s plan, the term “environmental disaster” comes to mind. Furthermore, I have yet to hear mention of how they will protect the Bingay Creek old growth forest, including all the biodiversity to which it is home. This delicate ecosystem sustains a large variety of animals and plants, and the proposed mine is within two kilometres of this forest. We all know how dirty and dusty open pit mining is, not to mention the noise of blasting and haul trucks. It would be a tragedy to lose this currently pristine environment.
Finally, I wonder what the tourists who visit “Beautiful British Columbia” will think when they have to drive through an open pit mine to get to the Elk Lakes Provincial Park. I know what I and many others think: Shame on our government for even remotely considering another mine in an already over-mined region.