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Protecting the Nashwaak Watershed

Nashwaak Watershed Nashwaak Watershed
The Sisson Project is situated within the Nashwaak watershed, which supports several fish species including Atlantic salmon and brook trout. Maintaining the integrity of the water quality within the Project area and downstream is of primary importance to stakeholders, First Nations and the Sisson Partnership.

The Sisson Partnership is committed to applying internationally recognized management practices at our operations. We are implementing water management strategies that protect local water resources, human health and fish populations. The Partnership has developed a comprehensive plan for water use and management that involves:
  • diverting surface water from rain and snow melt away from the project site via diversion channels and into nearby natural drainages;
  • storing the water that falls on or otherwise enters the project site within the tailings storage facility (TSF) for use in, and recycling through, the process plant;
  • operating the project with water stored in the TSF;
  • developing a water management system to capture seepage from the TSF and runoff from the TSF embankments into collection ponds for recycling back to the TSF. This system includes groundwater monitoring and interception wells around the outer margin of the TSF;
  • treating surplus water held within the TSF in a water treatment facility, as necessary, before releasing it into the environment in order to meet discharge permit requirements established by government; and
  • monitoring water quality and aquatic environments around the project site, and developing environmental management plans, to ensure the long term protection of local streams and aquatic habitats.

Potential effects and mitigation strategies, including project design modifications are being evaluated during the EIA and engineering studies. The environmental and engineering teams work closely together to ensure the project design minimizes potential environmental impacts. Good examples of this close collaboration include decisions to store waste rock within the TSF to reduce water quality risks and reductions in the size of the TSF footprint to avoid certain streams and areas with elevated archeological potential.

The Sisson Partnership will work with government through all stages of the project to ensure the management of water quality reflects values that are protective of the local environment.

Environmental Assessment

The Sisson Project has advanced through the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process. This means the federal and provincial governments have reviewed the proposed engineering and operating plans for the Sisson Project to ensure it can be built, operated and eventually closed with an approved mitigation plan for environmental effects.

The EIA Report is a science-based assessment prepared by independent, qualified professionals of the potential environmental effects associated with the Sisson Project. It includes planning, design and management strategies to avoid, minimize, and/or compensate for potential environmental effects throughout the Project's construction, operation, and closure phases.
  • The EIA Report was prepared by Stantec Consulting of Fredericton, New Brunswick.
  • More than two (2) years of engineering design, baseline environmental data collection and analysis of potential effects were completed by an experienced team of engineers and scientists including Stantec, Knight Piesold and SRK Consulting, and integrated into the EIA Report.
  • Detailed environmental design, operational, closure and monitoring measures were developed to ensure the project is carried out in an environmentally responsible way.
  • The EIA Report was submitted to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency and the New Brunswick Department of Environment and Local Government on July 31, 2013.
  • Baseline environmental monitoring and data collection, as well as the next phase of engineering design work, have been ongoing since submission of the EIA Report.
  • The EIA progressed through the provincial and federal review processes simultaneously; each process having its own timelines for review and comment by regulators, the public, and First Nations.
  • The government of New Brunswick issued an EIA approval to Sisson Mines Ltd. on December 3, 2015.
  • On February 10, 2017, the Province of New Brunswick and New Brunswick's six Maliseet First Nations entered into an accommodation agreement concerning the development of the Sisson Project.
  • The government of Canada issued an EIA approval to Sisson Mines Ltd. on June 23, 2017.

Facts About
MDMER Amendment Regulatory Process
Fish Habitat Compensation Plan

The Sisson Mine environmental assessment included the construction of a Tailings Storage Facility (TSF) for the safe management and disposal of tailings (mine waste). The construction of the proposed TSF will result in the loss of a natural water body frequented by fish and, therefore, requires a regulatory amendment to list the water body on Schedule 2 of the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulation (MDMER) and an Authorization under the Fisheries Act.
  • This is not an application to release untreated mine wastewater into the environment. 
  • The water discharged from the TSF will be subject to MDMER regulated water quality discharge limits to ensure protection of the receiving waters and the project is obliged, by law, to meet these limits.

For additional information, please refer to the links below:

Q & A -- MMER process and Fish Habitat Compensation Plan
Alternative Assessment Fact Sheet
Sisson Fish Productivity Fact Sheet
Assessment of Tailings Management Alternatives Report
Application for Fisheries Authorization and Fish Habitat Compensation Plan
Revised Fish Habitat Compensation Plan
Fish Habitat Compensation Plan - Appendices

Reclamation and Closure

From the outset, modern mines are planned for eventual closure and reclamation of the surrounding environment. Mine closure and reclamation are critical parts of the Sisson Project planning, and a mine closure and reclamation plan must be developed and approved before a mining lease is issued by the provincial government.

Following 27 years of operation, The Sisson Partnership will ensure the Sisson Project site is successfully reclaimed and closed. This means the former mine site will be capable of supporting beneficial land uses - such as wildlife habitat, forestry, or recreational uses - which will be based on direction from the provincial government and consultation with local communities and First Nations. Reclamation and closure at the Sisson Project will involve:
  • removing buildings and equipment;
  • re-contouring disturbed areas;
  • replacing topsoil and re-vegetating disturbed areas with native plant species as appropriate;
  • monitoring and managing water quality; and
  • treating and monitoring water discharged from the project site for as long as required to ensure protection of downstream environments.
Reclamation will be ongoing during mine operations, where possible, but will be largely undertaken in the year following the end of operations. Ongoing site monitoring and maintenance will continue for as long as required. As part of its long term commitment to environmental management of the site, The Sisson Partnership will provide a bond to the Government of New Brunswick to ensure that there is sufficient funding to close the project in an environmentally responsible manner at any given time in the project's life. The closure plan, as well as the value of the bond, will need to be reviewed and approved by the provincial government before construction begins, and will be reviewed periodically over the life of the project.

Environmental monitoring and, if necessary, water treatment will be undertaken to ensure the integrity of local water resources. As the mine approaches closure, the final reclamation and land use goals for the Sisson Project site will be established in consultation with local communities, First Nations, and other Project stakeholders including the Government of New Brunswick.

Responsible Mineral Development

At The Sisson Partnership, we are committed to working side by side with our stakeholders to achieve the responsible development of our project and to contribute to the sustainable development of the communities in which we work and live. All our activities are guided by the following principles to ensure responsible mineral development:

Health and Safety
We operate in a responsible manner so that our activities protect the health and safety of our employees and contractors, and of the communities in which we work.

Stakeholder Engagement
We engage with governments, communities, First Nations, organizations, groups and individuals on the basis of respect, fairness, transparency, and meaningful consultation and participation.

Community Development
We establish productive local partnerships to contribute to achieving development goals identified by communities in which we work, to address local priorities and concerns, and to have communities derive substantive benefits from our activities.

Environment and Society
We apply environmental and social best management practices in the planning, design and implementation of our activities, from exploration through to closure of our mining operations. We meet or exceed regulatory requirements in the jurisdictions in which we work.

Resource Use
We use land, water and energy resources responsibly; strive to maintain the integrity and diversity of ecological systems; and apply integrated approaches to land use.

Human Rights
We respect human rights principles, as well as local cultures, customs and values, in our dealings with employees, communities and other stakeholders.

Labour Conditions
We provide fair treatment, non-discrimination and equal opportunity for our employees, and comply with labour and employment laws in the jurisdictions in which we work. We strive for excellence in relations between management and employees.

At The Sisson Partnership, we integrate these Principles of Responsible Mineral Development within our corporate management and decision-making, and we work to continually improve our performance.
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