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Environmental Impact Assessment

Challenge

The Marathon PGM-Cu Project Environmental Assessment (EA) was carried out under a joint, harmonized federal-provincial process that was the first of its kind in Ontario for a mining project. This represented new territory for all involved – the proponent and its consulting team, government staff, the public stakeholder and First Nations. EcoMetrix was charged with leading the EA process on behalf of the proponent, Stillwater Canada Inc.

Stillwater Canada Inc. relied on EcoMetrix to navigate through the process, integrating the various aspects and voices of the project into one unified message.

Background

Stillwater Canada Inc. proposed a greenfield mining and milling development in northern Ontario, near Marathon on the shore of Lake Superior. The proposed project consisted of the development of an open pit platinum group metals, copper and iron mining and milling operation (the so-called Marathon PGM-Cu Project).

An environmental assessment for the Project was required under the Federal Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, as well as the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act through a voluntary agreement signed by Stillwater and then provincial government. The federal and provincial governments agreed to a harmonized EA process and to this end appointed an independent Joint Review Panel (JRP). This was the first time that Ontario had formed a joint EA review panel with the federal government.

Project

Stillwater Canada Inc. retained EcoMetrix to manage the EA process for the Marathon PGM-Cu Project at Marathon, Ontario.

Together with Stillwater, EcoMetrix assembled a team of local, regional and national experts to develop the EA programs and associated documentation. On behalf of Stillwater, EcoMetrix managed the process – coordinating the specialty technical teams and ensuring the quality of the technical work, integrating local and First Nations knowledge, liaising with local, provincial and federal government staff, distilling down the vast quantities of data and information collected in manageable, plain English concepts and communicating the concepts with the public, stakeholders and First Nations. Our findings were documented within a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement that was issue to the Joint Federal-Provincial Review Panel.

Outcome

Brian Fraser, Principal and senior consultant, managed the EA process and study team on behalf of Stillwater. He said, “Trust was the cornerstone of the success of the project, both in terms of our client’s confidence in our ability to proactively identify and manage issues over the life of the project and to seamlessly integrate the various voices that made up the project team into one, unified message.”