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From the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to Prodigy Gold Incorporated re: Information Requests Related to the Environmental Impact Statement Round 1 (Part 1)


Cover Letter

(PDF - 1.57 MB)

Canadian Environmental
Assessment Agency
Ontario Regional Office
55 St. Clair Avenue East,
Room 907
Toronto, ON M4T 1M2

Agence canadienne
d'evaluation environnementale
Bureau regional de l'Ontario
55, avenue St-Clair est,
bureau 907
Toronto (Ontario) M4T 1M2

September 28, 2017

Mr. William Napier
Vice President, Prodigy Gold Incorporated
Box 209, 3 Dree Road
Dubreuilville, ON
P0S 1B0
William.Napier@argonautgold.com

Sent by E-mail

Dear Mr. Napier,

SUBJECT: Outcome of the Technical Review of the June 2017 Magino Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement – Part 1

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) has completed the technical review of the June 2017 Magino Mine Project (the Project) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) documentation from Prodigy Gold Inc. (Prodigy) and determined that the information provided is insufficient for the purpose of moving forward with the environmental assessment (EA).

To facilitate moving forward with the EA, the Agency has prepared information requirements (IRs), contained in this letter and the attachment Annexes, in consultation with Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and Health Canada, developed the Government of Canada's. The IRs are also informed by comments from provincial Ministries. The Agency has also taken into consideration comments and questions received from Indigenous groups and the public. The Agency has not yet received comments from all participating Indigenous groups and expects to submit additional IRs once the comments are received and reviewed.

The attached IRs are categorized and sorted by their links to environmental effects that are to be taken into account under section 5 of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), or factors to be considered under section 19 of CEAA 2012. The IRs cover a variety of matters, including the assessment of effects to fish and fish habitat (including water quantity and water quality), human environment (including atmospheric environment and effects of changes to the environment on Indigenous Peoples), accidents and malfunctions, cumulative effects, alternatives assessment, and species at risk.

The IRs include areas of insufficient information in the assessment of effects of changes to the environment on Indigenous peoples such as health, socio-economic conditions, physical and cultural heritage, and current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and of the potential adverse impacts of the project on potential or established Aboriginal and treaty rights protected by Section 35 of the Constitution Act of Canada, 1982 (referred to herein as section 35 rights).

Considering the nature of the IRs related to effects on Indigenous Peoples, the Agency expects that the response to these IRs be provided as a single cohesive document with updated assessments to the components outlined in the IRs. Likewise, responses to IRs related to impacts on section 35 rights should also be provided as a single document.

The IRs are subdivided into the attached Annexes to this letter as follows:

  • Annex 1 contains IRs from the Agency and other government reviewers, provided in accordance with subsection 23(2) of CEAA 2012. These IRs relate to the EA and must be satisfactorily addressed to enable the Agency and other government reviewers to better understand the potential adverse environmental effects of the project and the Agency's preparation of the EA report. Some key issues may require technical discussions with relevant federal departments. The Agency would be happy to facilitate these meetings, as required.
  • Annex 2 consists of a companion sheet, which outlines the deliverables related to Indigenous matters the Agency must receive from Prodigy and the instructions Prodigy must follow. In the companion sheet is a table with a number of IRs related to specific gaps, inconsistencies and oversights to be addressed as part of its response to related Annex 1 IRs.
  • Annex 3 contains advice to the proponent from government reviewers. These comments may include guidance or standard advice related to the federal and provincial regulatory processes, supplementary actions for consideration, and editorial comments on the EIS. These comments may be useful in answering some of the Annex 1 IRs, while others may need to be addressed during the federal and provincial regulatory processes, as appropriate.
  • Annex 4 contains comments from members of the public. The Agency, where applicable, has incorporated these comments into its own Annex 1 IRs. Any response to the comments attached should be directed to the originators of the comments, with the Agency copied. Note that comments received in writing are included verbatim to ensure that the intent of the comment is accurately communicated to the proponent.

This letter and all annexes collectively form the first Information Requirement (IR-1). In accordance with subsection 23(2) of CEAA 2012, the Agency requires, at a minimum, that Prodigy submit complete responses to the requirements and comments appearing in Annexes 1, and 2.

The Agency will submit an addendum to IR-1 once outstanding comments have been received from Indigenous groups and have been reviewed. This will include any new related IRs and identify comments linked to IRs submitted as part of the current package. The Agency expects that responses to comments received from Indigenous groups and related IRs will be incorporated into Prodigy's overall response to IR-1.

As per the Agency's "Operational Policy Statement: Information Requests and Timelines, February 2016" (https://www.canada.ca/en/environmental-assessment-agency/news/media-room/media-room-2016/information-requests-timelines.html) the Agency will take up to a maximum of 15 days to complete the conformity review of Prodigy's response to IR-1 without the timeline for the EA resuming. If the Agency has not come to a conclusion after 15 days, the timeline will resume.

Registry provisions

In accordance with CEAA 2012, comments received and other documents submitted or generated to inform the EA are part of the project file. Accordingly, information submitted to the Agency that is relevant to the EA of the project is available to the public upon request and may also be posted on the online public registry under reference number 80044. The Agency will remove information, such as home addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and signatures prior to public disclosure. Should you provide any documents that contain confidential or sensitive information that you believe should not be made public, please contact me directly.

Next Steps

The timeline is stopped as of September 28, 2017 and will not recommence until the Agency reviews the formal submission of the response to the IR-1 and is satisfied that responses are sufficiently complete to proceed with the EA.

The Agency is willing to meet with Prodigy to discuss the path forward and schedule meetings on specific EA thematic areas with all government reviewers, Prodigy and their consultants to clarify expectations for the IR responses.

If you have any further questions, please contact me directly at 437-999-9046 or Magino@ceaa-acee.gc.ca.

Sincerely,

<Original signed by>

Ian Martin
Project Manager

Attachments:
Annex 1 – Information Requirements for the Magino Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement
Annex 2 – Companion Sheet to the Information Requirements for the Magino Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement – Indigenous Matters
Annex 3 – Advice to the Proponent
Annex 4 – Comments from the Public

cc: Amiel Blajchman – Prodigy Gold
Fernand Beaulac – Prodigy Gold

Annex 1 - Information Requirements for the Magino Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement

(PDF - 492 KB)

IR Number: IE(1)-01

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

51 (c) (i) Aboriginal Peoples Health / Socio economic conditions;

51 (c) ii Physical and Cultural Heritage;

51(c) iii Current Use of Lands and Resources for Traditional Purposes;

51 (c) iv Any Structure, Site or Thing that is of Historical, Archaeological, Paleontological or Architectural significances.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.1.8

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Appendix 3.IV, Section 3.3.2, Figure 3.3.2-1;

Chapter 4, Sections 4.6, 4.6.5 and 4.6.6;

Chapter 7, Sections 7.7, 7.7.2 and 7.7.3.

Context and Rationale:

In TSD 9, Appendix 3.IV, Section 3.3.2, Figure 3.3.2-1, a figure titled "Human Health Receptors" identifies four receptors (HHR007, HHR008, HHR009 and HHR011) to the east of the project study area, along or near Goudreau Lake, which are not listed in the summary of human health risk receptors in TSD 9, Appendix 3.IV, Section 3.3.2, Table 3.3.2-1. In TSD 12, Section 3.3.4, Figure 3.3.4-1, points of reception for the vibration assessment are identified at the same locations as the human health receptors (except for HHR016), with a parallel numbering scheme, including POR7, POR8, POR9 and POR11. Only POR9 is among those points listed in Description of Sensitive Points of Reception (POR) in TSD 12, Section 5.2.2, Table 5.2.2-1.

There is no rationale given in TSD 9, TSD 11, TSD 12 or TSD 14 for excluding these identified receptors from the human health effect assessments. In the assessment for effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions it is not clear that any points of reception are used. Further, for the assessments of the effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples it is not clear what the points of reception are and why they were selected.

Since these receptors are locations where land use may be maintained during the project, and located downwind from emission sources, it is important to understand how changes from the project may lead to effects on human health, socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance for Aboriginal peoples. These changes would include effects to the change in the experience and enjoyment of the land due to aesthetic impairments including noise, air quality, and visual disturbances.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a list of receptors for human health, socio-economic conditions, physical and cultural heritage, current use of land and resources for traditional purposes, and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance for Aboriginal peoples. Include HHR007/POR7, HHR008/POR8, HHR009/POR9 and HHR011/POR11 in this list;

B. For each receptor include the longitude and latitude of each location, the type of location, the type of receptor that would use the location and a rationale for the selection including how cultural sites and the uses by Aboriginal peoples were considered; including maps for each Indigenous groups receptors;

C. Incorporate these receptors where appropriate into the assessments for effects of changes to the environment on health (See IR HE(1)-18) and socio-economic conditions (See IR IE (01)-02), the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples (See IR IE (01)-03).

IR Number: IE(1)-02

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 51 (c) (i) Aboriginal Peoples Health / Socio economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 1, Section 3.3.1;

Part 2, Sections 6.2.6, 6.3, 6.4 and 7.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.

Context and Rationale:

In Chapter 7, Section 7.7, the assessment for effects of changes to the environment on Aboriginal peoples' socio- economic conditions does not assess effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions.

The assessment for effects of changes to the environment on Aboriginal peoples' socio-economic conditions does not provide a methodology or a conclusion for residual effects, including significance criteria (i.e. geographic extent, magnitude, duration, frequency, and reversibility), the application of mitigation measures or a cumulative effects assessment.

An example of a socio-economic effect from a change to the environment is a change in availability of moose leading to a decreased ability to harvest moose which causes an increase in amount of income spent on store-bought alternatives by an Indigenous person.

The assessment does not consider points of reception within the assessment for effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions for Aboriginal peoples.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide an assessment for effects of changes to the environment on Aboriginal peoples' socio-economic conditions that includes:

  • use of site specific baseline information of Indigenous groups' socio-economic conditions;
  • consideration and inclusion of points of reception (See IE(01)-01);
  • a methodology and rationale;
  • specific and measurable mitigation measures;
  • a rationale and analysis of conclusions for residual effects;
  • a follow-up program for potential effects to Indigenous peoples' socio-economic conditions, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures; and
  • input from Indigenous groups on the methodology (including significance criteria), mitigation measures, follow-up programs and conclusions for residual effects;

B. Consider the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions considered as part of the cumulative effects assessment in Chapter 11;

C. Respond and incorporate responses to comments mentioned in Annex 2 into your revised assessments as well as any similar additional issues found while undertaking the revised assessment. Annex 2 is not an exhaustive list of additional issues with you assessment and is meant as a starting point.

IR Number: IE(1)-03

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

51(c) iii Current Use of Lands and Resources for Traditional Purposes;

51 (c) ii Physical and Cultural Heritage;

51 (c) iv Any Structure, Site or Thing that is of Historical, Archaeological, Paleontological or Architectural significances.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 1, Sections 2.3, 3.3.1 and 4.3.2;

Part 2, Sections 6.1.9 and 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Sections 4.6.5, 4.6.6;

Chapter 7, Sections 7.7.2 and 7.7.3.

Context and Rationale:

In the "Technical Guidance for Assessing the Current Use of Lands and Resources for Traditional Purposes under CEAA, 2012", December 2015, it defines "use" as both activities involving the harvest of resources, such as hunting, trapping, fishing, gathering of medicinal plants, berry picking, and travelling to engage in these or other kinds of activities. In addition, use may also refer to particular connections and uses of the lands resources related to ceremonies, customs, cultural practices, traditional government, trade or stories." The guidance also points out that the use of the lands and resources by Aboriginal peoples may have tangible and intangible values that are linked with spiritual, artistic, aesthetic and educational elements.

An example of a current use of lands and resources effect from a change to the environment is, a change in the availability of fish and disturbance of the fishing area due to noise, and dust leading to a decreased ability harvest that fish and the ability of elders to teach their youth specific practices and customs associated with that fishing activity and site.

The assessments of effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples do not include information or a consideration of spiritual, artistic, aesthetic and educational elements. Additionally, the assessments do not consider effects to the change in the experience and enjoyment of the land due to aesthetic impairments including noise, air quality, and visual disturbances.

The assessments of effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples does not provide a rationale for the methodology used (including significance criteria), specific and measurable mitigation measures, and a rationale and analysis of conclusions for residual effects.

The proponent uses ‘points of reception' within the assessment of the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes for Aboriginal peoples, however there is a limited rationale provided for the selection of the location of these points (See IR IE(01)-01).

The baseline information provided for the Indigenous groups' current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage, and structures, sites or things that are of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance does not provide site and species specific information. Therefore it is difficult to understand any potential residual effects and the application of mitigation measures.

In September 2017, Batchewana First Nation and Métis Nation of Ontario wrote the Agency and the Proponent raising concerns about the lack of inclusion of traditional knowledge they had provided to the Proponent into the assessments of effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.

The assessments of effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples does not carry forward all of information provided in the baseline section of the EIS (Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5).

The Agency has found a number of examples of this issue and has documented it in Annex 2 – a companion document.

The only mitigation measure specified for the assessments of effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples is an environmental monitoring committee and little information is provided to describe it. This is not mitigation.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Update the assessment of effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes by Aboriginal peoples that includes the following:

  • use of site specific baseline information of Indigenous groups' current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes including seasonality/timing;
  • consideration and inclusion of points of reception (See IE(01)-01);
  • consideration of effects to overall experience and intangible components of the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes;
  • a methodology with significance criteria and a rationale;
  • specific and measurable mitigation measures;
  • a rationale, analysis and conclusions for residual effects for each Indigenous group;
  • a follow-up program, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures; and
  • input from Indigenous groups on the methodology (including significance criteria), mitigation measures, follow-up programs and conclusions for residual effects;

B. Update the assessment of effects of changes to the environment on the physical and cultural heritage, and any structure, site or thing of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples that includes the following:

  • use of site specific baseline information of Indigenous groups' use of physical and cultural heritage and any structure site or thing of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance including seasonality/timing (including but not limited to Batchewana First Nation and Métis Nation of Ontario);
  • consideration and inclusion of points of reception (See IR IE(01)-01), overall experience and intangible components of the use of physical and cultural heritage and any structure site or thing of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance;
  • a methodology with significance criteria and a rationale;
  • specific and measurable mitigation measures;
  • a rationale, analysis and conclusions for residual effects for each Indigenous group;
  • a follow-up program, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures; and
  • input from Indigenous groups on the methodology (including significance criteria), mitigation measures, follow-up programs and conclusions for residual effects;

C. Consider effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and on the physical and cultural heritage, and any structure, site or thing of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples as part of the cumulative effects assessment in Chapter 11;

D. If no specific baseline information was available, demonstrate attempts to collect the information in a format and at a level of detail that could be used in the effects assessment in the Environmental Impact Statement while respecting confidentiality, as well as steps taken to communicate changes to the environment and any potential feedback provided by the Indigenous group. Should any feedback be provided include that in the updated assessment;

E. Respond and incorporate responses to comments mentioned in Annex 2 into your revised assessments as well as any similar additional issues found while undertaking the revised assessment. Annex 2 is not an exhaustive list of additional issues with your assessment and is meant as a starting point.

IR Number: IE(1)-04

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

51(c) iii Current Use of Lands and Resources for Traditional Purposes;

51 (c) ii Physical and Cultural Heritage;

51 (c) iv Any Structure, Site or Thing that is of Historical, Archaeological, Paleontological or Architectural significances.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Sections 6.1.9 and 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2 and 7.7.3.

Context and Rationale:

The assessments of effects of changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples does not include an assessment for all Indigenous groups.

Specifically, Garden River First Nation and Pic Mobert First Nation were not included. For Red Sky Métis Independent Nation, the baseline information provided was not specific and did not provide information pertaining to uses, practices or sites within the areas that overlap with the Project. Furthermore, Red Sky Métis Independent Nation informed the Agency that specific information about land use in the area was available. In a letter dated August 22, 2017 to the Agency Red Sky Métis Nation indicated they provided a map labelled "RSMIN Harvesting Areas" to the proponent on August 10, 2017 containing information they wanted included in the assessment.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Conduct an assessment of effects of changes to the changes to the environment on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples for Red Sky Metis Independent Nation, Garden River First Nation and Pic Mobert First Nation;

B. Include information provided by Red Sky Métis Nation including the map labelled "RSMIN Harvesting Areas" provided to you on August 10, 2017 in your assessment.

IR Number: IE(01)-05

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(ii) Aboriginal Physical and Cultural Heritage;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes;

5(1)(c)(iv) any Structure, Site or Thing of Historical, Archaeological, Paleontological or Architectural Significance.

Reference to EIS guidelines: N/A

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.

Context and Rationale:

The proponent is not consistent with the usage of the term for the Magino Project Site.

Therefore it is unclear where the location of the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes and physical and cultural heritage sites occurs and where the potential effect occurs.

This lack of clarity does not allow an understanding of what the potential residual effect may be, including its magnitude or geographic extent.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Please clarify the following terms throughout the baseline and effects assessment chapters (Chapter 4, Section 4.6; Chapter 7, Section 7.7):

  • Magino Site;
  • Project Site;
  • Magino Project Site;
  • Magino Area.

IR Number: IE(01)-06

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(ii) Aboriginal Physical and Cultural Heritage;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes;

5(1)(c)(iv) any Structure, Site or Thing of Historical, Archaeological, Paleontological or Architectural Significance.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 5

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7;

Chapter 16, Section 16.2.

Context and Rationale:

The EIS guidelines requires that the proponent engage with Aboriginal groups that may be affected by the project as it relates to potential adverse impacts of the project on potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. Additionally, it states that the proponent will document:

  • "each group's potential or established rights (including geographical extent, nature, frequency, timing), including maps and data sets (e.g. fish catch numbers) when this information is provided by the group to the proponent"; and
  • "based on its own perspective, the potential adverse impacts of each of the project components and physical activities, in all phases, on potential or established Aboriginal or Treaty rights. This assessment is to be based on a comparison of the exercise of identified rights between the predicted future conditions with the project and the predicted conditions without the project".

The proponent does not provide a complete assessment of impacts to Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

In September 2017, Batchewana First Nation and Métis Nation of Ontario wrote the Agency and the Proponent raising concerns about the lack of inclusion of traditional knowledge they had provided to the Proponent into the assessments of impacts to Aboriginal and Treaty Rights.

The proponent provides a concluding statement in Chapter 16, Section 16.2.5 that states "…the Project will not impact their Aboriginal or Treaty rights" however does not provide the assessment methodology or rationale to describe the impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Instead the proponent relies on the statement that the Project site is a "brownfield site" and refers to assessments in Chapter 4 and 7 for effects of any change that may be caused to environment on (i) health and socio economic conditions; ii) physical and cultural heritage; ii) the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, or iv) any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance.

While these assessments can inform an assessment of impacts to Aboriginal and Treaty rights, it is not a proxy for an assessment of impacts to Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Additionally, the rationale that the Project Site is a "brownfield" site and Indigenous groups are not, or in the recent past have not been, able to practice their Aboriginal and Treaty rights is not an acceptable rationale for no impacts to Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a revised assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights for each Indigenous group which includes:

  • Baseline information regarding the practice of Aboriginal and Treaty rights including information provided by Indigenous groups (including but not limited to, "RSMIN Harvesting Areas" map, and traditional knowledge information provided by Batchewana First Nation and Métis Nation of Ontario);).
  • Methodology and rationale used to assess impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
  • Mitigation and/or accommodation measures proposed specifically to address potential impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
  • Significance conclusions for any potential impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.
  • Input from Indigenous groups on the methodology (including significance criteria) and potential impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights;

B. Respond and incorporate responses to comments mentioned in Annex 2 into your revised assessments as well as any similar additional issues found while undertaking the revised assessment. Annex 2 is not an exhaustive list of additional issues with your assessment and is meant as a starting point.

IR Number: IE(01)-07

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(ii) Aboriginal Physical and Cultural Heritage;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes;

5(1)(c)(iv) any Structure, Site or Thing of Historical, Archaeological, Paleontological or Architectural Significance.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 5.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 12, Section 12.3 and Appendix 12-2.

Context and Rationale:

The proponent's engagement practices informed Indigenous groups about project design, components, activities, and benefits. However, it is not clear how engagement activities enabled Indigenous groups to evaluate project effects on their communities, activities, potential or established Aboriginal and Treaty rights and any other interests. Specifically, information is missing on how the proponent provided information to Indigenous groups on how the project might adversely impact them.

The engagement material provided in the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) does not contain any records of responses from Indigenous groups. Rather, only proponent communication and presentation material has been provided. It is important to have records of the proponent's responses provided to Indigenous group's questions, and any other records from Indigenous groups that informed the EIS. The Agency requires this information to understand the views of Indigenous groups on the Project, the range and severity of potential impacts on their rights, how the proponent has addressed concerns, and how traditional knowledge has been thoroughly gathered, validated and integrated into the EIS.

Specific Question / Request for Information:

A. Provide records demonstrating and clarifying that the Indigenous groups were provided the opportunity to understand the project and its potential environmental effects and impacts to their Aboriginal and Treaty rights, as well as the opportunity to provide input and validate the EIS findings related to these potential effects and impacts including:

  • Date and location;
  • Indigenous group(s) present;
  • Potentially adverse impacts presented/discussed;
  • Feedback/concerns received; and,
  • Response, action or follow-up provided;

B. Provide records of incoming communication from Indigenous groups including:

  • letters, emails and other responses to outgoing communication from the proponent requesting information;
  • comments, concerns or recommendations made about the project, its potential effects, mitigation measures, significance of effects, monitoring and follow up; and
  • communication material that was used in developing the effects assessments, including baseline conditions.

C. Follow the format in template table in Annex 2 when recording your engagement with Indigenous groups.

IR Number: IE(01)-08

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(ii) Aboriginal Physical and Cultural Heritage;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes;

5(1)(c)(iv) any Structure, Site or Thing of Historical, Archaeological, Paleontological or Architectural Significance.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 1, Section 2.3;

Part 2, Section 5.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 12, Appendix 12-1 and Section 2.

Context and Rationale:

The EIS Guidelines state that "The proponent will structure its Aboriginal engagement activities to provide adequate time for Aboriginal groups to review and comment on the relevant information."

As project effects to the environment that may potentially impact Indigenous peoples are measured against baseline profiles for each group, Indigenous groups must have timely access to these profiles, including any updates to these profiles, and have opportunities to comment on them.

Records of engagement with Indigenous groups end at December 2016, and drafts of the baseline profiles were provided to Indigenous groups in November 2016. As such, information is required by the Agency to ensure Indigenous groups have reviewed these updated draft Baseline Profiles and have had an opportunity to comment on them.

Specific Question / Request for Information:

Provide to the Agency a record of engagement activities after December 2016, including:

  • Follow-ups with Indigenous groups by the proponent on review of the updated baseline profiles.
  • Comments, questions, and concerns shared with the proponent by Indigenous groups.
  • Outcomes of these engagement activities (i.e. revised mitigation measures, changes to effects analysis, etc.).

IR Number: FFH(1)-01

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 3.1 and 6.1.6.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.

Context and Rationale:

It is noted in Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4 that "the interaction of dust and metals deposition on water quality is not addressed in this document, pending integration with the results of the atmospheric environment". As deposition of metals and dust from large-scale construction, operation and decommissioning and abandonment activities could cause detrimental changes in water quality, the Agency is unclear how these interactions were considered and addressed in the EIS.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a description of activities or project components that could result in releasing dust and metals to waterbodies;

B. Describe the changes in water quality that could result from deposition of dust and metals from activities or project components described in Question A;

C. Provide the effects on fish and fish habitat due to changes in water quality from dust and metals deposition;

D. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effects on fish and fish habitat due to changes in water quality from dust and metals deposition;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Reassess the significance determination for water quality and fish and fish habitat, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to E into account;

G. Update the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-02

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

5(2) – Metal Mining Effluent Regulations

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 2.2 and 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

Context and Rationale:

In the October 2014 Draft EIS Report, a large subsurface water pipe was originally proposed to be built beneath the Tailings Management Facility (TMF) and Mine Rock Management Facility (MRMF). Pipes, even if sealed, can eventually degrade and create a conduit for seepage with unknown consequences for downstream effects, or it may possibly undermine the structural integrity of the TMF/WRMF. It is also possible that the sealing materials will degrade and allow water to flow.

The Agency requires clarification on the existence of the proposed infrastructure in order to assess the potential for seepage and potential effects to fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Confirm whether or not a pipe is still proposed to be built beneath the TMF and MRMF;

B. If it is still proposed, provide an assessment of alternative means for this project component;

C. Provide and assessment of the potential effects from seepage related to this project component, including any mitigation measures necessary, significance of residual effects, follow up and monitoring.

IR Number: FFH(1)-03

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 3.1.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 6, Section 6.5.4.4;

TSD 16, Figure 2.2.

Context and Rationale:

It is noted in Chapter 6, Section 6.5.4.4 that "The low grade ore stockpile will be processed by the end of the operations phase". The Agency was unable to find the location of this stockpile in the site maps provided in Chapter 6, 7, and TSD 16 of the EIS.

It is important for the Agency to understand where this stockpile will be located to assess the changes in water quality and the effects on fish and fish habitat that may be caused by this project component.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide the location of low-grade stockpile in the site maps provided in Chapter 6, 7 and TSD 16.

IR Number: FFH(1)-04

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 3.1, 3.2.2 and 3.2.3.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.4.5.1.4, 7.3.4.9.1.2,

Context and Rationale:

The EIS states that "during closure, runoff from the TMF and MRMF, […] the process plant and areas with equipment that is being demolished will continue to be passed to the WQCP. Contact water collected, as well as any seepage collected in the perimeter collection system, will be collected and treated as necessary."

There is no mention in the EIS of whether the water from the water quality control pond (WQCP) will be treated before being discharged to the natural environment during construction and operation. Further, the EIS does not describe the location of the treatment plant or under what conditions water treatment will be considered necessary.

This information is important for the Agency to assess the potential for adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat from changes in water quality.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Explain the conditions under which water treatment would be considered necessary for discharge from the WQCP during construction, operation and/or decommissioning and abandonment, including how the results of any monitoring and follow up be considered.

B. If water treatment is not required during those phases, provide a detailed explanation of why, including a discussion of any uncertainty and risk involved.

C. Provide the proposed location for a water treatment plant, as might be required during construction, operation and decommissioning and abandonment.

D. Assess the potential effects associated with the construction of a water treatment plant.

IR Number: FFH(1)-05

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Sections 3.1, 6.1.5, 6.2.2, 6.2.3

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.5.5.1.3;

TSD 16, Section 4.1.2.1.2;

TSD 16 Addendum, Figure 2.2 and Table 2.1.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 16, Section 4.1.2.1.2 states that Otto Lake "will be the final discharge location from the TMF". From the site map provided in Figure 2.2 in TSD 16 Addendum, it is unclear where exactly the final discharge point will be located in Otto Lake.

Furthermore, it is stated in Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.5.1.3 that "The Water Quality Control Pond (WQCP) will discharge effluent to Otto Lake via an outlet structure and it will allow flow passively through Otto and Herman lakes". The Agency is unclear about the location of this discharge structure and whether this discharge from the outlet structure will occur through a pipe. No information was found in Chapter 7, TSD 16 and TSD 16-Addendum regarding potential effects of the outlet structure for discharge on fish and fish habitat.

It is further noted in Table 2.1 of TSD 16-Addendum, Section 2.1 that the rate of discharge assumed in the CORMIX modelling of WQCP discharge is 0.15 m3/s or 150 L/s. The Agency understands that this rate of discharge is averaged over discharge season (April-October) and multiplied by 1.5. The Agency also notes that "Otto Lake is too shallow (<3m)", as mentioned in TSD 16, Section 4.1.2.1.2. The Agency is concerned about the effects on fish and fish habitat, such as scouring or disruption associated with the flow rate of 150 L/s in a relatively shallow lake, the extent of the mixing zone surrounding the discharge, and potential downstream effects.

This information is important for the Agency to understand the effects on fish and fish habitat in Otto and Herman lakes.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide the exact location where effluent will be discharged into Otto Lake;

B. Provide the location and details for the structure that will be used to discharge water from the WQCP into Otto Lake

C. Provide the location and predicted extent of the mixing zone at surrounding the discharge;

D. Describe the effects on fish and predict alteration or destruction of fish habitat from the effluent discharge structure, the mixing zone extent, and from the rate of flow of discharge during all phases of the project;

E. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effects on fish and fish habitat from the effluent discharge structure and from the rate of flow of discharge during all phases of the project;

F. Characterize residual effects on fish and fish habitat, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

G. Reassess the significance determination for fish and fish habitat, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to E into account;

H. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-06a

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 3 and 6.2.3.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 6, Section 6.5.1.7

Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.2.3, 7.3.2.8, and Table 7-53.

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 6, Section 6.5.1.7 states that "To prevent groundwater flows from Goudreau Lake into the open pit Prodigy proposes to construct a slurry wall which will extend to bedrock. The construction of the slurry wall will begin at the onset of pre-development activities." Further, Chapter 7, Section 7.3.2.3, Table 7-53 indicates that during Construction Phase, infrastructure "[…] such as overburden slurry wall" will be constructed. Section 7.3.2.8 of the same Chapter further mentions that "the design includes groundwater flow barriers along the perimeter of the pit to reduce the inflow of groundwater from the east end of the pit".

It is unclear what infrastructure will be built between the open pit and Goudreau Lake. The Agency notes that the proposed area for construction of this infrastructure is tightly confined between Goudreau Lake and boundary of the open pit and therefore, managing erosion and sedimentation in this area is likely to be challenging. Erosion and release of sediments can deteriorate water quality and affect fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide details about the infrastructure that is proposed for construction between the open pit and Goudreau Lake;

B. Provide a list of activities associated with the construction of infrastructure in Question A that may cause changes in water quality due to erosion or release of sediments;

C. Predict the effects on fish and fish habitat due to possible changes in water quality resulting from undertaking the activities in Question B;

D. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effects on fish and fish habitat due to possible changes in water quality resulting from undertaking the activities in Question B;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented.

IR Number: FFH(1)-06b

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 3.1 and 6.1.6.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.5.1.2;

Chapter 6, Section 6.4.9.2 and Table 6-21;

TSD 7, Figure 6.3;

TSD 16, Figure 2.2;

TSD 20-8, Section 4.5.

Context and Rationale:

It is stated in Chapter 6, Section 6.4.9.2 that "haul roads will be constructed on-site for transporting ore and mine rock from the pit to their designated destinations". It is likely that surface drainage from the haul roads will contain total suspended solids (TSS) and other parameters of concern such as metals. The Agency acknowledges that sediment ponds will be used to collect the surface drainage; however, it is unclear where the haul roads and corresponding sediment ponds are located as their locations are not specified in Chapter 6 and 7, and TSD 16.

Chapter 6, Figure 6-3 identifies the location of two topsoil and overburden stockpiles to the northwest and southwest of the TMF/MRMF. It is likely that surface drainage and seepage from the stockpiles will contain TSS and metals. It is understood that runoff from these areas will be directed to the Water Quality Control Pond (WQCP) via natural topography and the ditches illustrated in various figures.

The Agency further notes that Table 6-21 of the same chapter states: "as necessary, perimeter ditches will be located to preclude release of overburden (sediment) beyond the defined perimeter limits and to separate contact water and non-contact water". The Agency is concerned about the surface drainage and seepage from the stockpiles at or past the edge of the watershed catchment boundaries (particularly if there is potential for metal leaching) bypassing the WQCP and reporting to surrounding surface water features such as Waterbody 8.

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.5.1.2 states that "as necessary, sediment detention berms will be constructed to detain material and prevent sediment loading. Additional sediment control features such as wattles, silt fences, and berms and ditches will be provided, as needed, for control". It is unclear under what circumstances the installation of these features would be considered necessary.

Furthermore, Chapter 6, Table 6-21 states that dust suppression on roads will be conducted by "use of water collected in site runoff ponds". The Agency notes that this water is likely to have increased concentrations of metals and TSS which could enter the surface drainage from roads and bypass the Water Quality Control Pond (WQCP).

This information is important for the Agency to understand potential changes in water quality and the effects on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide the locations of haul roads, the topographic contours, and any proposed ditching and sediment ponds, and explain whether and how surface drainage from the haul roads will be collected;

B. Describe the potential for metal leaching from the topsoil and overburden stockpiles. Further, describe the potential for metal leaching from the uncontrolled release of runoff and seepage that may bypass the runoff and seepage collection system;

C. Explain under what circumstances (including the implementation process) that additional sediment control features, such as wattles, silt fences, and berms and ditches, would be deemed necessary;

D. Describe the potential for dust suppression waters containing metals and TSS to enter surface drainage from roads and bypass the WQCP; also provide a discussion of viable alternatives to using water from site runoff ponds for dust suppression, if necessary.

IR Number: FFH(1)-06c

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 3.1 and 6.1.6.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.3.7.1;

TSD 20-6, Appendix 4.

Context and Rationale:

It is stated in Chapter 7, Section 7.3.3.7.1 that "Measures taken to manage water flows and reduce sediment burden which could affect spawning grounds will be included in the Construction Environmental Protection Plan (TSD 20-6)".

The Agency notes that there are no details (e.g. site maps, diagrams or a summary of main elements) regarding management of water flows or reduction of sediment burden in TSD 20-6.

It is important for the Agency to understand the changes in sediment burden and water flows due to construction activities on site as they relate to effects on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a summary of the main elements of the Construction Environmental Protection Plan that that will be developed to support the analysis required for the environmental assessment. These should make references to the specific measures used to manage water flows and sediment burden mentioned in the main EIS as mitigation measures;

B. Reassess the significance determination for water quality and fish and fish habitat, if necessary, taking responses from Questions asked in FFH(1)-06a, FFH(1)-06b and FFH(1)-06c into account;

C. Update the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, taking responses from Questions asked in FFH(1)-06a, FFH(1)-06b and FFH(1)-06c into account, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-07

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 6, Section 6.4.4;

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.1.4.

Context and Rationale:

Section 6.2.2 of the EIS Guidelines requires an assessment of "surface and seepage water quality from the waste rock dumps, […] stockpiles and other infrastructure […]".

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.1.4 states that "Since it is estimated that the amount of PAG material to be excavated from the pit is less than 1% of the total mass (TSD 2), ARD impacts on soil do not need to be considered". However, Chapter 6, Section 6.4.4 states that "the total tonnage of material to be excavated from the open pit amounts to be an estimated 550 Mt".

The Agency notes that although the amount of PAG material expected is less than 1%, the volume of excavated materials from the open pit still makes this a substantial number.

Given this, the degradation of soil quality could lead to contamination of groundwater and surface water, thereby impacting fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Complete an assessment of changes to soil quality from placement of PAG material excavated from the open pit;

B. Describe the changes in water quality resulting from changes in soil quality;

C. Provide the effects on fish and fish habitat, if applicable, due to the resulting changes in soil and/or water quality;

D. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effect on fish and fish habitat due to the described changes in soil or water quality;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-08

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part, Section 6.1.4.

Reference to EIS: TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

The proponent states in TSD 4 that "for the purpose of this hydrogeological study the various bedrock units were grouped into five main lithological units (see Figure 2-7)." (p. 8)

There is no concordance between the five main lithological units for the hydrogeological study listed and the ones displayed in Figure 2-7 or listed in Table 2-3.

The Agency requires clarification in order to understand the hydrogeology modelling, the potential for acid rock drainage, and potential effects to fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Clarify if "All lithologies" as written in TSD 4, Table 2-3 (p.9) are representative of the "metasediments" as written in the list in Table 2-3.

IR Number: FFH(1)-09a

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.1.2.

Reference to EIS: TSD 2, Section 3.3.2, Table 3-6 and Table 3-8.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 2, Section 3.3.2, Table 3-8 (Summary of Humidity Cell Results) provides the following values for total Sulphur by weight %:

  • Unit 1 – 0.57;
  • Unit 2 – 0.03;
  • Unit 5e – 40.2;
  • Unit 6 – 0.25;
  • Unit 7 – 0.16;

Table 3-6 of the same TSD provides the whole rock samples analyses on these units. The Agency notes a wide range in chemical composition in some of these units. For example, the range for total sulphide in Unit 5e is reported to be between 0 to 32%.

The Agency is uncertain about the methodology used for the selection of each lithological unit and the representation of the results based on the whole rock analysis.

This information is required in order to understand the hydrogeology modelling and the potential for acid rock drainage (ARD). Further, an underestimation of potential ARD can cause detrimental changes to water quality and lead to harmful effects on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide the methodology about how the material for each lithological unit was selected and comment on whether the results are representative based on the whole rock analysis.

IR Number: FFH(1)-09b

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.1.2.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 2, Section 3.3.1;

TSD 20-8, Section 2.2.1

Context and Rationale:

It is stated in the Preliminary Geochemical Characterization Report in TSD 2, Section 3.3.1: "The static results from the EBA study indicate that only Unit 5e (a massive sulphide) has the potential for significant acid generation (as indicated by MEND criteria: an NP/MPA ratio of <2, elevated sulphide concentration, and a negative NNP or NNP less than 20 tonnes kg CaCO3 equivalent per ton of rock)."

The same section further states that "The spatial analysis of sample locations performed by EBA (Appendix A) suggests that many of the individual samples of the other lithologies that were categorized as PAG or uncertain were located near or adjacent to areas where the metasediments (Unit 5) occurred."

TSD 20-8, Section 2.2.1 states that "351Mt of the waste rock and overburden is NAG, 3 Mt of the waste rock falls in the uncertain category, and 10 Mt is considered PAG material."

The Agency acknowledges that Unit 5e is relatively small, however there are samples taken adjacent to Unit 5e that are categorized as PAG or uncertain. It is noted that co-disposal of the material from Unit 5e is planned in the tailings management facility. However, the Agency is uncertain about:

  • how the tailings will remain saturated;
  • how Unit 5e will be segregated for co-disposal;
  • whether the same disposal strategy be used for material adjacent to Unit 5e;

This information is important for the Agency as an underestimation of potential acid rock drainage can cause detrimental changes to water quality and lead to harmful effects on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Describe how the tailings will remain saturated after the material from Unit 5e is disposed into the tailings management facility;

B. Describe how Unit 5e will be segregated from other lithological units for co-disposal;

C. Explain the strategy for managing material around Unit 5 that was categorized as PAG or uncertain;

D. Describe potential changes in water quality from underestimation of acid rock drainage leading into the waterbodies surrounding the MRMF;

E. Provide the potential effects on fish and fish habitat from underestimation of acid rock drainage leading into the waterbodies surrounding the MRMF;

F. Describe mitigation measures, if applicable, to prevent adverse effects on fish and fish habitat;

G. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

H. Reassess the significance determination for adverse effects on fish and fish habitat, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to G into account;

I. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-10

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.1.2.

Reference to EIS: TSD 2, Sections 3.3.1 and 3.3.3.

Context and Rationale:

It is stated in TSD 2, Section 3.3.3: "Dissolved aluminum was detected consistently over time […] It is suspected that the dissolved aluminum results are an artifact of the testing procedures (from the cell materials or from the sampling) or the laboratory". Section 3.3.1 of the same TSD states that "[…] nitrite results are a sampling or laboratory artifact"

The Agency notes that no information is provided in TSD 2 on the sampling methodology, such as filtration, blanks, type of membranes used, preserving agents and bottle types for the field test. Without provision of any additional information on how the testing procedures influence aluminum and nitrate levels, the Agency is unable to verify the claim that the aluminum and nitrite results are artifacts of testing procedures.

This information is important for the Agency to ensure that aluminum and nitrite are assessed appropriately for possible effects on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Substantiate the claim that dissolved aluminum and nitrite results are an artifact of the testing procedures. Provide methodology (filtration, blanks, type of membrane, preserving agent, bottle type) used for the field cell tests.

IR Number: FFH(1)-11

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

5(2) – Metal Mining Effluent Regulations

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.1.2 and 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS: TSD 2.

Context and Rationale:

In order to understand the potential seepage quality for both tailings and waste rock, and assess the potential effects to fish and fish habitat and human health, it is necessary to have confidence in the geochemical composition of the host rock. The Agency notes that various lines of geochemical information were used, however several inconsistencies were identified. The following observations are offered regarding geochemistry:

  • Whole Rock Analysis identified the following elements as being potentially of concern because they appear in the Magino rock samples at levels 10X higher than the average global crustal abundance: Arsenic, Bismuth, Cadmium, Copper, Manganese, Molybdenum, Rhenium, Sulphur, Selenium, Tellurium (likely not at 10X; detection limit issue), Tungsten, Silver, Zinc.
  • Shake Flask Tests identified Aluminum, Arsenic, Cadmium, Copper, Selenium, and Silver as exceeding criteria. The Proponent indicated that Fluoride, Arsenic, Copper, and Selenium warranted consideration based on the Shake Flask tests.
  • Humidity Cell Tests: It is noted that Arsenic and Cadmium trends may be increasing in the Tailings and Unit 6 samples. Selenium trends are erratic and warrant further attention.
  • Field Cell Tests: It is noted that Nickel shows erratic trends and may be increasing. Selenium and Zinc trends may also be increasing.
  • Baseline conditions note there are Severe Effects Level exceedances for Arsenic, Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Zinc in sediments in the Spring-Lovell subwatershed downstream of past mining activities. Watersheds that have not been affected by mining also experience some exceedances for some metals, which are found in the rock types that will be mined.

The Agency also notes that the Geochemical Assessment TSD does not clearly identify what parameters were being monitored during the Field Cell testing, and in the ongoing Field Cell testing program.

The Agency notes that the proponent has assumed that tailings porewater will have the same quality as the Tailings Management Facility (TMF) pool, but provides no discussion on the validity of this statement.

Should any of the parameters be changed/modified, it will be Important for the Agency to understand the potential changes to water quality in the receiving waterbodies from seepage, in order to assess the effects to fish and fish habitat and other valued components as applicable.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Indicate which parameters are currently being monitored as part of the Field Cell testing program. Provide data and graphs/charts for all parameters.

B. Based on the metals identified in the geochemistry tests, provide an explanation for the difference in the metals, and the level of uncertainty associated with any difference.

C. Provide rationale for the assumption that tailings pool water will have the same chemical composition as tailings porewater, Provide a description of the uncertainty in this assumption.

D. Rationalize the selection of parameters chosen for the water quality assessment, based upon Questions A-C.

IR Number: FFH(1)-12

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

5(2) – Metal Mining Effluent Regulations

Reference to EIS guidelines:6.2. 2 Water

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4, Table 2-1

Sections 4.2.2, 6.2.3, 6.2.4, 6.3.2 and 6.4

TSD 1, Figure 6-4

Context and Rationale:

In order to understand possible changes to surface water quality and potential effects to fish and fish habitat and human health, the assumptions used in the groundwater modelling need to be validated to ensure the model has been properly calibrated and the results are valid. The Agency observed several areas where model assumptions were not clear:

TSD 4 notes that "shallow bedrock" is defined at 0-60 m depth; however the upper several metres of typical Canadian Shield are generally more weathered and/or heavily fractured then deeper rock. It appears in Figure 6-4 of TSD 1 that hydraulic conductivity tests were based on the defined shallow rock depths (0-60m) rather than the upper weathered layer (0-5 m).

The Agency notes that the assumed value for shallow bedrock (K = 8X10-7 m/s for 0-60 m depth) was used as a starting point for calibration, however, the Magino dewatering test provided a measured bulk value of K=1.3X10-6 m/s for the upper 60-100 m of rock

It is noted in Section 4.1.3 that an anisotropy ratio of 10h:1v was introduced to calibrate the model, and suggests this may be explained by greater lateral than vertical extent of discrete fracture zones, but doesn't appear to consider the potential that the upper 60 m of bedrock may not have a uniform K at all depths from 0-60 m.

The Agency also notes that an estimate of 140 mm per year was used as the groundwater recharge value in the model. However, a sensitivity analysis was run using 140 mm + 50% = 210 mm, and resulted in a less accurate calibration.

Section 2.8.1 of TSD 4 presents baseline estimates of baseflow into various lakes, which were subsequently used as targets for the calibration exercise. However, very little information is provided as to how these baseflow estimates were developed.

Section 4.2.2 of TSD 4 states that the total groundwater discharge to Herman Lake could not be computed, since Herman Lake was established as a model domain boundary. The Agency is concerned that the potential effects of seepage discharge on the surface water quality of Herman Lake may not have been characterized adequately.

According to TSD 4, the Tailings Management Facility (TMF) tailings hydraulic conductivity is assumed to be 1X10-7 m/s. A sensitivity analysis was conducted in Section 6.4 of the TSD 4 (Run 5a) and shows that with an increase of one order of magnitude (1X10-6 m/s), there is a 309% increase in seepage to the toe drains, and a 52% increase of seepage bypass. It appears seepage rates in the tailings are highly sensitive to the K values, and may not be sufficiently conservative.

Section 6.2.4 states that particles were applied to Layer 1 and 2 for the Mine Rock Management Facility (MRMF) and only to Layer 1 for the TMF, but provides no rationale for the difference.

Should any assumptions be changed/modified, it will be Important for the Agency to understand the potential changes to seepage rates to the receiving waterbodies, in order to assess the effects to fish and fish habitat and other valued components as applicable.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide the rationale for assigning the shallow bedrock layer a depth of 0-60 m. Provide the consequences of excluding a shallower (0-5 m) weathered/fracture layer in the determination of the hydraulic conductivity value;

B. Reconcile the difference in the assumed K value for shallow bedrock with the measures K value, and provide justification for the K values used in the model calibration;

C. Provide rationale for using a 10h:1v anisotropy ratio versus differing K values within the shallow bedrock layer (0-60m);

D. Provide justification for the groundwater recharge value used in the model calibration;

E. Provide an explanation for how the baseflow estimates were developed;

F. Discuss the consequences of establishing Herman Lake as the domain boundary, in terms of assessing the potential effects of seepage discharge on the surface water quality of Herman Lake. Provide rationale for maintaining the existing domain boundary;

G. Provide justification for the assumed hydraulic conductivity for tailings (K = 1X10-7 m/s); and,

H. Provide rationale for why particles were applied only to Layer 1 for the TMF.

IR Number: FFH(1)-13

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, 6.1.4.

Reference to EIS: TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 4, Figure 3-2 shows the finite-difference grid of the numerical model in three dimensions. Figures 6.8 and 6.9 show results of Tailings Management Facility (TMF) and Mine Rock Management Facility (MRMF) seepage with transient particle tracking.

In order to properly assess the groundwater modelling, the Agency requires the finite-difference grid, and the seepage results to be provided in 2-dimensional vertical sections.

This clarification is important in order to understand the hydrogeology modelling to be able to properly assess potential effects to fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Present the finite-difference grid of the numerical model in 2D vertical sections indicating the corresponding adopted hydrostratigraphic layers and layers numbers, as well as their thicknesses (overburden, shallow bedrock and deep bedrock). Preferably use the following three cross sections:

  • NW-SE from Unnamed Water 9 to the Pit;
  • NW-ESE from Unnamed Waterbody 8 to the Pit; and
  • W-ESE from Otto Lake through WQCP to the Pit.

B. Plot the results of TMF and MRMF seepage with transient particle tracking in 2D vertical sections in at least three cross sections:

  • NW-SE from Unnamed Water 9 to the Pit;
  • NW-ESE from Unnamed Waterbody 8 to the Pit; and
  • W-ESE from Otto Lake through WQCP to the Pit.

IR Number: FFH(1)-14

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, 6.1.4.

Reference to EIS: TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

The overburden aquifer is very important in controlling groundwater flow, but there are no detailed maps showing the overburden units as described in section 2.3. Figures 2-2 and 2-3 do not show what is explained or written about them.

This information is required in order to understand the groundwater modelling, and potential effects to fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide detailed maps of the overburden aquifer with all its hydrostratigraphic units.

IR Number: FFH(1)-15

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 1, Section 4.2;

Part 2, Section 6.1.4.

Reference to EIS: TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

The modelling method in TSD 4 describes a porous medium, but it does not include calculations of margins of error and other relevant statistical information, such as confidence intervals and possible sources of error.

TSD 4, Section 3.1 (Agency note: should be labeled 3.11) discusses the limitations of the model. Of particular interest, however, is the uncertainty of groundwater flow through fractures, which is not simulated in the equivalent porous-media model. With the exception of the first layer, the other 16 layers in the 3D model domain are essentially fractured bedrock, and this is not accounted for in the simulations. The uncertainty in this case could be very large.

Evidence of a fractured medium was found in the underground mine workings (UMW) dewatering test, including highly conductive faults (TSD 4, Section 2.4). However the 3D model does not include this evidence. Rather, the model is treated as a continuum porous medium model. Even by using a porous-medium approach for the 3D numerical model, a discrete transmissive fracture zone should be explicitly discretized in the numerical model.

TSD 4, Section 2.4 on structural controls describes the results of the 2014 dewatering test, among others, providing evidence of fracture groundwater flow. However, the section does not present any figure or graphic showing those tests. Further information is required on the evidence of the structural control identified during the pumping test for the Magino UMW in 2014.

The uncertainty around the accuracy of the groundwater modelling needs to be addressed in order to understand potential effects to fish and fish habitat and other valued components as applicable.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a clear and detailed explanation on the uncertainties associated with fractured groundwater flow, not included in the numerical model;

B. Discuss and quantify the uncertainty related to groundwater flow through fractures. If this is not possible, propose an alternative solution;

C. Use an explicitly discretized transmissive fracture in the numerical model. For instance, a 2D vertical fault with enhanced permeability could be used to represent a highly conductive fault found at the UMW;

D. Provide figures and/or graphics of the evidence of the structural control identified during the pumping test for the Magino UMW in 2014. For example, the shape of the cone of depression should be provided.

IR Number: FFH(1)-16

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.3.2.4.3, Section 7.3.4.5.1.3, Section 7.4.1.5.1

Context and Rationale:

Given the items raised in FFH(1)-11, -12 and -15, the Agency is concerned with the uncertainty associated with the predicted quantity and quality of seepage entering into receiving waterbodies and the potential effects to fish and fish habitat being predicted.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Based on the responses to FFH(1)-11, -12, and -15, update the predicted quantity and quality of seepage bypass that will end up in surface water bodies, including the pit lake, and the potential effects this will have on surface water quality;

B. Describe the level of uncertainty associated with this prediction and how this will be managed;

C. Revise the effects on fish and fish habitat and other valued components, if applicable, due to the resulting changes in surface water quality;

D. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effects on fish and fish habitat (and other valued components if applicable) due to the described changes in surface water quality;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented; and,

F. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat (and other valued components if applicable), including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-17

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

5(2) – Metal Mining Effluent Regulations

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 3.1 and 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7,

Section 7.3.2 and 7.3.3;

Addendum to TSD 16, Section 2.1.3.

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.2.7 states that the open pit will cause "water from under the TMF/MRMF to migrate toward the pit." Therefore causing seepage from the Mine Rock Management Facility (MRMF) and Tailings Management Facility (TMF) to flow towards the pit.

It is stated in Addendum to TSD 16, Section 2.1.3: "During the closure phase, the pit will be filled to reach the elevation of nearby Goudreau Lake (i.e., approximately 382 m). Once filled, and water quality is acceptable for discharge, a channel will be constructed to connect Pit Lake to Goudreau Lake". The Agency is uncertain about what the use of the pit lake would be at decommissioning and abandonment, as well as what the adaptive management or contingency plan is in the event that water quality from the flooded pit is not acceptable for connection with fish-bearing Goudreau Lake.

Seepage has the potential to affect the water quality of the flooded pit, which may be connected to Goudreau Lake during decommissioning and abandonment. This can in turn have an effect on fish and fish habitat in Goudreau Lake.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Confirm whether groundwater contamination from the TMF and MRMF has been factored into the water quality of the flooded pit;

B. If groundwater contamination has not been factored into the water quality assessments of the flooded pit, provide an assessment taking this contamination into account;

C. Describe mitigation measures for any potential effects due to the contamination from TMF and MRMF seepage into the open pit;

D. Describe any residual effects and their significance after the application of mitigation measures, if any;

E. Provide follow-up and monitoring plans for any residual effects identified;

F. Describe the use of Pit Lake after decommissioning and abandonment;

G. Provide an assessment of potential effects to fish and fish habitat due to residual effects on water quality in the open pit, once connected with Goudreau Lake, including any necessary mitigation measures, follow up and monitoring.

H. Provide a description of the adaptive management approach and contingencies measures to be implemented if water quality from the flooded pit is not acceptable for discharge to Goudreau Lake.

IR Number: FFH(1)-18

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 16-Addendum, Section 2.1.7;

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.2.4.3.

Context and Rationale:

TSD16-Addendum, Section 2.17 states: "The water quality for run-off was taken as the average water chemistry of baseline monitoring of the inflow to the upper McVeigh Creek watershed (i.e., the existing tailings pond and polishing pond and entrance to Lovell Lake".

The Agency understands that a geochemical testing program was conducted to assess "the potential to generate acid and metal-containing leachate" (Chapter 7, Section 7.3.2.4.3). However, it is unclear whether or how the data from the geochemical testing program was considered in the prediction of water quality for run-off.

The quality of run-off water is important for the Agency to understand as it may bypass the WQCP and cause changes in water quality of the surrounding fish-bearing waterbodies.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Explain whether and how the data from geochemical testing program was used in predicting the water quality for run-off or provide a rationale for why that would not be necessary.

In your response, consider how responses to Agency IRs related to geochemistry may require you to reconsider the predictions of water quality of run-off.

IR Number: FFH(1)-19

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 1, Section 4.2;

Part 2, Section 6.1.5.

Reference to EIS: TSD 3, Section 4.3.

Context and Rationale:

Part 1, Section 4.2 of the EIS Guidelines state that "all data, models and studies will be documented such that the analyses are transparent and reproducible".

There appears to be an inconsistency between the annual runoff values reported in TSD 3, Sections 4.3.1.1 through 4.3.1.5 and the corresponding raw monthly runoff values presented in Tables 4-8 through 4-12 of the same TSD. For example, the annual runoff for Goudreau Creek in TSD 3, Section 4.3.1.4 for the period of November 2011 to October 2012 is reported to be 423.7 mm. Based on the data provided subsequently in Table 4-11, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) estimates the annual runoff for the same period to be 351 mm.

Furthermore, Table 2-5 in TSD 4 and Table 5-1 in TSD 3 show the monthly distribution and average of streamflow (runoff) for the Magino Study Area. The monthly runoff data provided in these two tables do not match and as a result, the site mean annual precipitation values are also different.

Figure 6-10: a and 6-10b in TSD 4 indicate they show simulated transient positive net lake fluxes and negative net lake fluxes; however, both figures appear to be identical.

Such inconsistencies are important to address for the Agency to understand the water balance model and predictions for changes in water quantity and quality, ultimately affecting fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Ensure that there are no inconsistencies and contradictions in the data provided, as shown in the examples presented in the adjacent column.

IR Number: FFH(1)-20

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Sections 6.1.5 and 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.5.5.1.3, 7.3.5.8, Table 7-93.

Context and Rationale:

The Agency notes in Table 7-91 of Chapter 7, Section 7.3.5.5.1.3 that the baseline concentration for copper (Cu) in sediment in Otto and Herman Lakes is already above the Lowest Effect Level (LEL), and the predicted value is above the Severe Effect Level (SEL). Table 7-93 of Section 7.3.5.8 assigns Cu concentrations in sediments in Otto and Herman Lakes as medium magnitude of effect level.

The Agency notes that the increase in copper concentrations is predicted to increase by 14 times the baseline concentration in Otto Lake and 7 times the baseline concentration in Herman Lake. The Agency also notes that the predicted concentrations are 5 times higher than the SEL in Otto Lake and 2 times higher in Herman Lake. It is unclear why the Cu concentrations were categorized as medium magnitude for Otto and Herman lakes, as the evidence above suggests that they would be better categorized as a high effect level.

It is unclear how the significance determination of effects to sediment quality has any influence on the significance determination for effects to fish and fish habitat.

This information is important for the Agency to understand the significance determination on sediment quality in Otto and Herman Lakes, which could ultimately affect fish and fish habitat.

It is stated in TSD 14, Section 3.1 that "changes to sediment quality were not anticipated for the Project and therefore were not assessed with respect to human health. Refer to the Surface Water and Sediment Quality TSD [TSD 16] for rationale." No rationale was found in TSD 16.

Changes in sediment quality in Otto and Herman Lakes may lead to increases in chemicals in the water, and increases in chemical concentrations in fish tissue. Consumption of this water and fish by people may lead to effects on health. By excluding changes to sediment quality from the human health risk assessment, it is possible that changes of concentrations of copper and phosphorus in water and fish due to the Project are underestimated.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Revise the magnitude of "Stream and Lake Sediments" from medium to high for copper (Cu) in sediments of Otto and Herman Lakes, or provide a rationale for why that would not be necessary;

B. Reassess the significance determination for "Stream and Lake Sediments" taking the response to Question A into account;

C. Based on any updated significance determination for effects to sediment quality, revise the significance determination for effects to fish and fish habitat. If this is not necessary, provide a rationale.

D. Include exposure of humans and fish to contaminated sediment in the human health risk assessment, or provide a clear rationale for not including this exposure pathway in the human health risk assessment;

E. Where necessary, reassess the significance determination for residual effects on human health.

IR Number: FFH(1)-21

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Sections 6.2.2 and 6.2.3.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7

Sections 7.3.5.5.1.3 and 7.4.1.5.1.

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.5.5.1.3 states that "The concentration of phosphorus and copper is predicted to be above MOECC's [Severe Effect Level] (SEL) in Otto Lake with copper continuing to be above the SEL in Herman Lake. [...] the potential effects to aquatic biota are likely limited to the profundal areas of the receiving environment".

The same section of Chapter 7 mentions that fish will not be affected by elevated levels of various metals and organic matter in sediments because they are not confined to the profundal areas, and "[…] food resources for fish can be readily scavenged" in other areas of Otto and Herman lakes.

While the EIS is states that the predicted increases in contaminants will be limited to the profundal zone in both Herman and Otto lakes, the Agency is unclear about the impacts to benthic invertebrate communities and therefore the impacts to fish and fish habitat. In particular, the Agency is concerned about the effect on fisheries productivity associated with the potential use of a feeding resource that is predicted to be altered by contaminant exposure.

This information is important for the Agency to understand the effects on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Characterize the use by fish in the profundal areas of the receiving environment in Otto and Herman lakes;

B. Provide an assessment of effects in terms of fisheries productivity associated with the potential use of a feeding resources in profundal areas of Otto and Herman lakes that are expected to be altered by contaminant exposure;

C. Describe mitigation measures, if applicable, to reduce the effects on fish and fish habitat;

D. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

E. Reassess the significance determination for fish and fish habitat, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to D into account;

F. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-22

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

EIS Report, Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.4.7 and 7.3.4.8, Tables 7-83 and 7-84;

TSD 16 Addendum

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.7 of the EIS states that "concentrations above water quality guidelines will occur for … copper … within the mixing zone but concentrations will achieve water quality guidelines within 165 m of the discharge and will be non-toxic within the mixing zone."

The GoldSim predicted median and maximum levels of copper in the effluent-receiving Otto Lake under average precipitation conditions are 14.4 µg/L and 26.3 µg/L, respectively. The toxicity of copper is well documented, and these levels (e.g. 14.4 µg/L and 26.3 µg/L) have been shown to be acutely toxic to sensitive aquatic organisms including both fish (including salmonids) and invertebrates (cladocerans, amphipods, mollusks).

The characterization in Table 7-84 of the Magnitude of the residual effect from copper should be revised from Medium to High.

This information is important for the Agency to understand the significance determination on water quality in Otto Lake, which could ultimately affect fish and fish habitat.

Furthermore, under Section 4(1) of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER), the authority to deposit an effluent containing a deleterious substance is predicated on the Schedule 4 authorized limits, a specific pH range of the effluent, AND that the deleterious substance is not an acutely lethal effluent.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Revise the magnitude of "Surface Water Quality" from medium to high for copper (Cu) in the water of Otto Lake, or provide a rationale for why that would not be necessary;

B. Reassess the significance determination for "Surface Water Quality" taking the response to Question A into account;

C. Based on the responses to Questions A and B, revise the assessment of effects to fish and fish habitat, including the significance determinations of any residual effects. If this is not necessary, provide a rationale;

D. Describe in detail all mitigation measures to be implemented to ensure that copper concentrations in the effluent at the final discharge point remain below levels that cause adverse impacts to aquatic organisms;

E. Provide follow-up monitoring plans for any residual effects identified.

IR Number: FFH(1)-23

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Sections 6.1.5 and 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.8.

Context and Rationale:

The Agency notes that, in Table 7-83 of Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.8, the definition of medium and high magnitude of effects is not specific as to which concentration of parameters of concern (median or maximum) is being referred to.

This is important for the Agency to understand the significance determination on surface water quality, which could ultimately affect fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Clarify whether the median or maximum concentration of parameter of concern is being referred to determine the medium and high magnitude effects level definitions.

IR Number: FFH(1)-24

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS: TSD 16 Addendum, Tables 3.2 – 3.5.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 16 Addendum predicts two- to three-fold increase in Otto Lake hardness (52.1 mg CaCO3/L to 110-175 mg CaCO3/L, under the various climate scenarios modeled) during operations.

While there is no water quality guideline for calcium and thus no exceedances listed in Tables 3.2 - 3.5, the predicted increase in water hardness will affect aquatic life. Organisms that live in the soft waters of Canadian Shield lakes are accustomed to living in ion-dilute conditions. Therefore a change to the receiving environment, even if gradual, will have an effect on the native biota (plants, invertebrates, fish).

Additionally, if the hardness level of the receiving environment changes rapidly resident biota could experience acute osmotic stress.

The Agency requires additional information on the potential effects of changes to water hardness on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Assess the potential effects on fish and fish habitat due to the predicted increases in water hardness in Otto Lake;

B. Identify mitigation measures necessary to address the potential effects on fish and fish habitat.

C. Describe any residual effects and their significance after the application of mitigation measures, if any;

D. Provide follow-up and monitoring plans for any residual effects identified;

IR Number: FFH(1)-25

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

EIS Report, Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.4.7 and 7.3.4.8, Tables 7-83 and 7-84.

TSD 16 Addendum, Tables 3.2 – 3.5.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 16 Addendum Tables 3.2-3.4 show that the background hardness of Otto and Herman Lakes are 52.1 mg CaCO3/L and 46.5 mg CaCO3/L, respectively.

Because the toxicity of copper and cadmium is ameliorated by increased water hardness, these metals would be expected to be more toxic during the early years of operation and effluent release (i.e. before the hardness of the receiving environment has been altered). However, the acute value for copper in TSD 16 Addendum Table 3.5 was determined with the modeled water hardness during "month 4 of year 10 of operations."

By the tenth year of operations, the hardness of the Otto Lake receiving environment is predicted to have increased from 52 mg CaCO3/L to somewhere between 110 and 175 mg CaCO3/L depending upon precipitation.

Using the hardness level of the later stages of operations is not necessarily appropriate to determine the risk of metal toxicity in the early stages of operations in soft water lakes, and cannot be considered a conservative approach.

In order to understand the potential effects on fish and fish habitat of contaminants such as copper and cadmium, a conservative approach should be taken, including using the hardness levels for Otto Lake at an earlier time of the project's operations phase.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Revise the assessment of the potential effects to water quality using a more conservative assumption for the degree of water hardness reflective of conditions during the early years of operation and effluent discharge in Otto Lake;

B. Based on the update to the assessment of effects to water quality, revise the assessment to effects to fish and fish habitat, including the significance determination;

C. Include in the effects assessment a discussion of the potential effects to fish and fish habitat of chronic exposure to copper and cadmium at the predicted concentrations;

D. Identify any additional measures that may be required to mitigate potential effects to fish and fish habitat from exposure to copper and cadmium based on answers to Questions A – C.

IR Number: FFH(1)-26

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 16 Addendum, Section 2.3;

Table 2.2.

Context and Rationale:

The CCME Canadian Water Quality Guidelines for the Protection of Aquatic Life (CWQG) is 0.715 mg total ammonia/L at a pH of 8.0 and a temperature of 15oC (CCME 2001). This guideline value (mg/L NH3) can be converted to mg/L total ammonia-N (TAN) by multiplying the corresponding guideline value by 0.8224; therefore, for these receiving environments, the guideline expressed in TAN is 0.588 mg total ammonia-N/L. However, TSD 16 Addendum Table 2.2 states that the CCME guideline is 0.07 mg ammonia-N/L; it is unclear how this stated CCME CWQG was derived.

Further, in Table 2.2, footnote (i) states that for Otto Lake a pH of 7.8 and a temperature of 15oC were used to derive the selected British Columbia Ministry of Environment (BCMOE) guideline of 1.5 mg ammonia-N/L. Similarly, Table 2.2 states that for Herman Lake the selected B.C. guideline was 1.3 mg ammonia/L.

TSD 14 Addendum, Section 2.3 states that "in order to ensure the guidelines used in this assessment represented the state-of-the science, the most recent guideline (CCME, BCMOE or Ontario's Provincial Water Quality Objective (PWQO)) was used to assess the predicted water quality."

The rationale for using the BCMOE water quality guideline for ammonia is unclear, given that it was adopted from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and is unchanged from 1986.

The proponent should use the CWQG for its effects assessment, using a precautionary approach for selecting the guideline value.

The Agency notes that freshwater mussels are among the groups most sensitive to ammonia. These organisms could be chronically affected by ammonia exposure at the predicted maximum levels in Otto Lake under all three precipitation scenarios.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify how the CCME CWQG for ammonia in Table 2.2 was derived;

B. Revise the assessment of effects to water quality using the CWQG for Ammonia, including mitigation measures and significance determination of residual effects;

C. Based on any update to the assessment of effects to water quality, revise the assessment to effects to fish and fish habitat, including an assessment of chronic effects of ammonia exposure on freshwater mussels under all three of the presented precipitation scenarios;

D. Identify any additional measures that may be required to mitigate potential effects to fish and fish habitat, if required after answering Questions A and B;

E. Describe any residual effects and their significance after the application of mitigation measures, if any;

F. Provide follow-up and monitoring plans for any residual effects identified.

IR Number: FFH(1)-27

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat;

5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds.

Reference to EIS guidelines:6.2. 2 Water

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.4.5.1.3 and 7.3.4.8.1;

TSD 16-Addendum, Section 3.1.

Context and Rationale:

It is stated in Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.5.1.3 that "the mercury concentration is predicted to exceed the water quality guideline in only 15% of the operational days and concentrations in the mixing zone are expected to achieve the water quality guideline within 40 m of the discharge". TSD 16-Addendum, Section 3.1 states that this exceedance of water quality guideline happens 16% of the operational days. It is unclear how the prediction about exceedance of water quality guideline at only 15 or 16% of the operational days was determined.

Section 3.1 of TSD 16-Addendum states that "The only substance with elevated concentrations within the mixing zone that has the potential to bioaccumulate is mercury". The Agency also notes that Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.8.1 predicts elevated concentration of sulphate in Otto Lake under all climate scenarios. It is plausible that elevated total mercury concentrations in the presence of elevated sulphate can result in the formation of methylmercury.

This information is important for the Agency to understand the effects of increased concentration of contaminants in water on fish and fish habitat and migratory birds.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Explain how mercury concentration in the effluent would exceed the CWQG only 15 or 16% of the operational days;

B. Describe the changes in water quality in areas of Otto Lake where formation of methylmercury is a possibility in the presence of elevated concentrations of sulphate;

C. Predict the effects on fish and fish habitat and migratory birds from the changes in water quality described in Question B;

D. Describe mitigation measures, if applicable, to reduce the effects on fish and fish habitat and migratory birds from the changes in water quality described in Question B;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Reassess the significance determination for fish and fish habitat and migratory birds, if necessary, considering the responses from Questions A to E into account;

G. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat and migratory birds, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-28

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Sections 6.2.2 and 6.2.3.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.3.2 to 7.3.3.7, 7.4.1.5.2 and 7.4.1.5.3;

TSD 7, Figures 6-5 to 6-9.

Context and Rationale:

The assessment of effects presented in Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.3.2 to 7.3.3.7 are based on comparing predicted baseline flows and lake water level ranges to predicted flows and lake water levels that could occur due to the project. The scale of the flows and lake level ranges used in the comparison are: "mean annual, minimum, average, and maximum," "mean monthly," and "minimum and maximum historical". This unit scale does not provide the resolution necessary to determine effects that are spatially or temporally isolated relative to the size/duration of the mine. The Agency noted a better representation of lake levels in the line graphs provided in TSD 7, Figures 6-5 to 6-9, which provide the temporal span that the magnitude of effect is predicted to last.

Furthermore, the effects assessments related to surface water hydrology in Chapter 7, Section 7.3.3 presents many cases where no effects are considered likely as long as water flow and level alterations are not found below historical levels or background variations. Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) notes that this is not an appropriate benchmark for determining effects caused by flow and water level alterations in an ecosystem context. DFO further notes that for Canadian ecosystems, the "expert consensus is that cumulative flow alterations of less than +/- 10% of the magnitude of actual (instantaneous) flow in the river [system] relative to a "natural flow regime" have a low probability of detectable negative impacts to ecosystems including those that support CRA fisheries" as stated in Framework for assessing the Ecological Flow Requirements to Support Fisheries in Canada, Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, 2013.

This information is important for the Agency to understand changes in surface water hydrology that could affect fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide line graphs showing predicted baseline flows and lake levels compared against predicted project flows and lake levels (similar to those depicted in Figures 6-5 to 6-9 in TSD 7) for any waterbody or watercourse that is predicted to have a cumulative alteration in instantaneous flows greater than +/- 10% of the natural flow regime as a result of the project;

B. Provide an updated assessment that considers effects due to alterations in flows and lake levels in an ecosystem context for waterbodies affected by mine activities. This should be a fisheries habitat and productivity specific assessment and will be considered in addition to those effects outlined in Chapter 7, Sections 7.4.1.5.2 and 7.4.1.5.3. This assessment should also identify any areas where drawdown may functionally eliminate habitat in the littoral sections of lake systems. Use the reference and associated research cited in Context and Rationale column for guidance;

C. Describe mitigation measures, if applicable, to reduce the effects on fish and fish habitat from alterations in flows and lake levels;

D. Characterize the residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

E. Reassess the significance assessment, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to D into account;

F. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-29

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.3.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Sections 7.2.3.6 and 7.2.3.7;

TSD 12, Section 5.3.2 and Table 5.3.2-1.

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 7, Table 7-206 mentions that construction phase "[…] may involve blasting but much less active than the Mining and Processing Phase. Therefore, emissions are bounded by the mining and processing phase and are not assessed". It is further mentioned in Chapter 7, Table 7-109 that "any effects from blasting will be realized during construction and the early years of operation until the pit is sufficiently deep that effects no longer occur".

The Agency notes that a bounding approach was used in this case which is, as mentioned in Chapter 7, Section 7.1.2.5, where "[…] a credible worst case scenario is described and assessed, with the understanding that all other scenarios would have lesser effects". However, it is unclear what the worst-case scenario was assumed in this case and whether the mitigation measures designed for this worst-case scenario will be applied throughout all phases. It is also unclear whether blasting will occur at other locations outside of the open pit area.

Further, Chapter 7, Section 7.2.3.6 states: "[…] Prodigy will develop an adaptive management plan which includes a review of site specific vibration data acquired during blasting operations and adjusts the blasting plan as necessary to meet DFO regulatory requirements". TSD 12, Section 5.3.2 provides an overview of the adaptive management plan but goes on to state "…designs proposed above as mitigation measures should not be considered as mitigations committed to by Argonaut but rather as an analysis which demonstrates compliance with the DFO limits is achievable through modifications to the blasting plan".

Given Part 2, Section 6.3 of the EIS Guidelines which states that "adaptive management is not considered a mitigation measure", it is unclear whether these measures will be implemented and under what circumstances.

Further, residual effects identified in Chapter 7, Section 7.2.3.7 have not been carried forward for any outstanding effects on fish and fish habitat as a result of exceeding DFO's guidelines.

This information is necessary to assess the potential for adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat in waterbodies close to areas where blasting will take place, such as Goudreau Lake.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide all locations for blasting during all phases of the project;

B. Predict the effects on fish and fish habitat due to blasting during all phases of the project;

C. Describe in detail the parameters of the worst-case scenario used for the effects assessment;

D. Describe the specific mitigation measures that will be implemented as part of the adaptive management plan, to prevent adverse effects on fish and fish habitat or exceedance of DFO's guidelines due to blasting during all phases of the project. Specify whether mitigation measures designed for a worst-case scenario will be applied throughout all project phases;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Reassess the significance assessment to include any new information resulting from responses to Questions A to E;

G. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-30

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.3.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Sections 7.4.1.5.1 and 7.3.3.7.3.

Context and Rationale:

The Agency is concerned about the effects of removal or alteration of riparian habitat on fish and fish habitat.

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.1.5.1 states that "Site clearing, grubbing, and pre-stripping will alter riparian habitat, and increase erosion and runoff".

The Agency also notes that due to reduction of catchment areas identified in Table 7-62 of Chapter 7, Section 7.3.3.7.3, it is plausible that there will be further changes to riparian habitats and upland vegetation that are not accounted for in Chapter 7.

The Agency is unclear about the locations where riparian habitats will be removed or altered and the corresponding effects on fisheries productivity due to possible reduction in organic input, temperature modulation, cover and bank instability, etc.

This is important for the Agency to understand the effects on fish and fish habitat and the proposed Fish Habitat Compensation Plan that is reported to offset the fish habitat and productivity loss due to the proposed project.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Identify areas where riparian habitats will be removed in the project, local and regional study areas;

B. Identify areas where riparian habitats may be affected by reduction in upstream catchment areas;

C. For questions A and B, clarify areas which may be lost or impacted due to disposal of mine waste;

D. Provide the effects on fish and fish habitat from removal or alteration of riparian habitat, including factors like reduction in organic input, temperature modulation, cover and bank instability, etc.;

E. Describe mitigation measures, if applicable, to reduce the effects on fish and fish habitat;

F. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

G. Update the Fish Habitat Compensation Plan, if necessary, to account for any losses of fish habitat from removal or alteration of riparian habitat;

H. Reassess the significance assessment, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to F into account;

I. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-31a

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Sections 6.1.6 and 6.3.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Tables 4-2 and 4-3;

Chapter 15, Tables 15-1 and 15-2;

TSD 20-14.

Context and Rationale:

The Agency has uncertainties about the proposed Fish Habitat Compensation Plan (FHCP) that is reported to offset the fish habitat and productivity loss due to the proposed project.

The Agency notes that a full accounting of lost fish habitat is not presented in Chapter 7, Chapter 15 or TSD 20-14 of the EIS. This accounting of lost habitat is required to determine to validate the collected data, the FHCP and to gain clarity on differentiating between regulatory requirements such as Metal Mining Effluent Regulations and Fisheries Act Authorization.

The Agency notes that Chapter 4, Tables 4-2 and 4-3 summarize waterbodies directly affected by the project, but not all of these waterbodies have characterized the fish habitat and/or species presence. Further, these tables do not include all waterbodies that are visible on satellite imagery provided in Chapter 4. These waterbodies include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Tributary between the Polishing Pond and Lovell Lake;
  • Tributary between Lovell Lake to Spring Lake;
  • Tributary from Waterbody 3 to Spring Lake;
  • Downstream extent of McVeigh Creek affected by decreased flows;
  • Tributary between Waterbody 10 to Webb Lake;
  • Tributaries flowing into Webb Lake;
  • Section of McVeigh Creek Tributary that is upstream of Spring Lake and downstream of the split leading to Waterbody 1 and Waterbody 2;
  • Waterbody 7 outlet;
  • Northeastern arm of Waterbody 7;
  • Tributaries into Waterbody 11;
  • Tributaries into Waterbody 3;
  • Inlet to Waterbody 7 (include any characterization of connectivity to Waterbody 6);
  • Tributaries entering waterbody 1;
  • Tributaries entering Waterbody 2;
  • Tributaries of Lovell Lake;
  • A series of approximately 7 waterbodies North of Webb Lake and South of the Polishing/Tailings Ponds and any connections between them;
  • Surface water noted in Figure IRC-71 between Waterbody 7 and McVeigh Creek (just inside the boundary of the TMF);
  • Waterbody South of Lovell Lake and any connections it has with Lovell Lake;
  • Waterbody adjacent to (mid-length, and southeast of) Waterbody 7.

Guidance on offsetting can be found in "Fisheries Productivity Investment Policy: A Proponent's Guide to Offsetting" (DFO, November 2013): http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pnw-ppe/offsetting-guide-compensation/index-eng.html

This information is required for the Agency to validate the effects on fish and fish habitat from the project.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Summarize fish habitat characteristics of, or provide justification that no fish are present (keeping in mind that ephemeral connections may still constitute fish habitat), for the waterbodies identified in the Context and Rationale column (including those noted in Table 4-2 and 4.3);

B. Update the FHCP with the information requested in Question A;

C. Update the follow-up program for the FHCP with appropriate statistical design, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed offsetting measures.

IR Number: FFH(1)-31b

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Sections 6.1.6 and 6.3.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.3.7 to 7.3.3.10 and 7.4.1.5 to 7.4.1.9;

TSD 20-14.

Context and Rationale:

The Agency notes in Chapter 7 that the effects assessments, residual effects, and significance of residual effects summaries refer to the FHCP as a mitigation measure that prevents effects to fish and fish habitat from constituting a significant adverse effect. However, the submitted FHCP is missing the details identified in FFH(1)-31a, without which the Agency is unable to determine whether the significance determination for fish and fish habitat are accurate.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide a summary of the main elements of the FHCP, including the updates requested in FFH(1)-31a. This summary should make references to the specific offsetting/compensatory measures mentioned in the EIS as mitigation measures.

IR Number: FFH(1)-32

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.1.6.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 4, Section 4.3, 4.4.5.1.1.

Context and Rationale:

The Agency notes in Chapter 4, Section 4.3.4.3.2 that Waterbody 4 and 5 are connected by a stream where iron staining was evident. Iron staining is reported in the same section to be "a possible indicator of groundwater seepage". The same section reports the presence of iron staining in McVeigh Creek – downstream from Spring Lake and links it "to overflow from historic mining activities to the south".

Chapter 4, Section 4.4.5.1.1 reports the presence of brook trout in the McVeigh Creek system from the Goudreau area to Hawk Junction. The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry notes that brook trout are documented in Summit Lake, and that a portion of McVeigh Creek near the south border of the local study area is potential high quality brook trout habitat. Further, according to Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), brook trout are known to spawn near groundwater upwelling.

It is unclear whether groundwater upwelling was considered during fish habitat assessments, particularly in relation to brook trout spawning habitat. Locations where groundwater upwelling is likely to occur are not identified in Chapter 4 or 7, and TSD 16 and TSD 16-Addendum of the EIS.

This information is important for the Agency to validate the location of sensitive fish habitat and analyze the effects on fish and fish habitat from the project.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify whether evidence (iron staining or otherwise) of groundwater upwelling was considered during fish habitat assessments. If groundwater upwelling was not considered, provide a rationale;

B. Provide the locations of areas where groundwater upwelling was noted (or likely to occur);

C. Verify the presence of brook trout spawning habitat in McVeigh Creek system and provide the effects of the project on brook trout spawning habitat, if applicable;

D. Describe mitigation measures, if applicable, to reduce the effects on fish and fish habitat, including brook trout spawning habitat;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Reassess the significance determination, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to E into account;

G. Update the follow-up program, if necessary, for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: FFH(1)-33

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.5.1.4

Context and Rationale:

The proponent states that "after closure, surface runoff from the [tailings management facility] (TMF) deck will be directed to Water Body 8 after flowing through detention ponds for sediment control."

The Agency notes that during operations phase, there is a dedicated discharge point in Otto Lake, where effluent will be released in a controlled manner and follow-up and monitoring will be in place to ensure compliance.

It is unclear why Waterbody 8 is chosen as a discharge point after decommissioning and abandonment. There is no assessment of the potential effects of the discharge water on the receiving environment, specifically in regards to effects on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a discussion of the expected water quality of the surface runoff from the TMF deck;

B. Describe the potential changes in water quality that could result from discharging TMF runoff to waterbody 8;

C. Provide the effects on fish and fish habitat that could occur from a change to the water quality in waterbody 8;

D. Describe mitigation measures, if applicable, to prevent adverse effects on fish and fish habitat;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Reassess the significance determination for adverse effects on fish and fish habitat, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to E into account;

G. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale;

H. Consider the changes to water quality and potential effects to fish and fish habitat in this IR when responding to IRs IE(1)-01 to IE(1)-04 and IE(1)-06.

IR Number: FFH(1)-34

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.3.

Reference to EIS: TSD 20-8, Section 2.3.5.

Context and Rationale:

Part 2, Section 6.3 of the EIS Guidelines states: "Adaptive management is not considered a valid mitigation measure, but if the follow-up program indicated that corrective action is required, the proposed approach for managing the response should be identified".

TSD 20-8, Section 2.3.5 states: "In the unlikely event further studies indicate that co-disposal of all or some of the PAG rock is not advisable, there are mitigation measures that can be considered. Options include placement of some of the PAG in the TMF, placement of the PAG in a separate lined cell, or embedding it in the NAG MRMF under a liner system to prevent water infiltration and hence oxidations of the sulphides."

The Agency acknowledges the options presented in case an alternative approach needs to be undertaken for PAG rock, however, it is unclear what the advantages and limitations of each option are.

This information is important for the Agency to assess the potential for adverse environmental effects on fish and fish habitat from changes in water quality in areas near MRMF.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Assess the advantages, limitations and environmental effects of each option presented for handling PAG rock considering situations when co-disposal of PAG rock becomes inappropriate.

IR Number: FFH(1)-35

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 6, Section 6.5.2.7.2.

Context and Rationale:

The proponent indicates in Chapter 6, Section 6.5.2.7.2 that, "as necessary, intermediate seepage collection trenches or ditches will be installed along the topographic low-points of the outer toe of the embankment to convey any infiltration through the embankment of the Tailings Management Facility. This seepage will be routed to the main perimeter seepage a collection trench and sumps."

It is not clear under what circumstances the installation of these intermediate seepage collection trenches or ditches would be considered necessary. Further, it is not clear how these would function.

In addition, even with the proposed seepage control system, Figure 6-7 shows seepage capture to be only 67-76%. Reliance on only a toe drain system means that deeper groundwater can flow out from the TMF/MRMF and not be intercepted.

This information is necessary for the Agency to understand the mitigation measures for changes to water quality, and the effects to fish and fish habitat, the health of Indigenous people, and any effects considered under Section 5(2) of CEAA 2012.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Explain under what circumstances the installation of intermediate seepage collection trenches or ditches would be considered necessary;

B. Describe the monitoring plan to assist in the determination of when the circumstances in Question A;

C. Provide the potential location of the intermediate seepage collection trenches or ditches;

D. Provide a description of how they will work;

E. Provide an estimate of the amount of anticipated seepage bypass that will end up in surface water bodies, including the pit lake;

F. Describe any anticipated changes to the seepage amounts when the pit lake has filled;

G. Provide information about any additional or alternative seepage collection measures that will be put in place to reduce seepage bypass further.

IR Number: FFH(1)-36

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

5(2) – Metal Mining Effluent Regulations

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4, Section 6.2.3.

Context and Rationale:

The proposed internal drains beneath the Tailings Management Facility (TMF) and/or Mine Rock Management Facility (MRMF) may promote seepage outward from the TMF/MRMF. Although this may facilitate seepage capture during the operations phase, enhanced seepage may remain throughout the decommissioning and abandonment phase. This would not appear to be desirable since TMFs/MRMFs are typically designed to reduce seepage.

This information is needed to understand seepage and its potential effects on fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Characterize the risk that the proposed internal drains could pose to enhancing seepage throughout decommissioning and abandonment.

B. Identify the targeted capture percentage of the seepage collection system for the operations, decommissioning and abandonment phases.

IR Number: FFH(1)-37

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

5(2) – Metal Mining Effluent Regulations

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS: TSD 4, Figure 6-1b.

Context and Rationale:

Liners will degrade over time, causing seepage rates to increase as a result of higher hydraulic conductivities through the lined embankments. Modelling of groundwater during decommissioning and abandonment should factor a degraded liner.

The Tailings Management Facility (TMF) design that was previously submitted in the October 2014 Draft EIS Report included seepage cut-off walls. It is unclear if seepage cut-off walls are still proposed for the TMF.

Figure 6-1: b of TSD 4 shows that the entire perimeter dam of the TMF has been modelled with a cut-off wall. However, no actual commitment is made, in any of the documents (not even in the "Tailings and Mine Rock and Overburden Stockpiles – Conceptual Design Report"), to install these cut-off walls.

Such cut-off walls would provide an important mitigation for the movement of seepage and protection of adjacent surface waters.

The Agency requires additional information to understand the seepage from the TMF and potential effects to fish and fish habitat.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide an assessment of groundwater quality, and potential effects on fish and fish habitat, taking into account a degraded liner;

B. Explain whether or not seepage cut-off walls are proposed for the TMF;

C. If seepage cut-off walls are not being proposed, provide a rationale about why these are no longer required to reduce seepage, and describe proposed measures to manage seepage from the TMF;

D. If seepage cut-off walls are a component of the TMF design, show which portions of the TMF will have cut-off walls installed, and provide additional information such as the targeted hydraulic conductivity and the requisite depth of cut-off walls to prevent seepage from migrating into nearby wetlands and surface waterbodies;

IR Number: FFH(1)-38

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat.

5(1)(c)(i) A5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.2,

Section 9.2.

Reference to EIS: TSD 19, Section 2.9.1, 10.13 and 11.3.3.

Context and Rationale:

The criteria used to establish the water quality monitoring program during the decommissioning and abandonment phase are not defined, and it is not clear whether the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (CDWQG) will be met in fish-bearing waterbodies or waterbodies susceptible to be used in the future as a drinking water source or for recreational use.

Some examples of statements that require clarification include:

  • Section 10.13 states that seepage from the Tailings Management Facility (TMF) and Mine Rock Management Facility (MRMF) will be transferred to the pit until the water quality is "suitable for discharge to the environment".
  • Section 2.9.1 states that "water quality in the [water quality control pond] (WQCP) should not be a concern after closure . therefore, no treatment is provided for the WQCP discharge water."
  • Section 11.3.3 states that after an initial three years of monitoring, the frequency would be reduced provided the water quality "remains stable".

More specific information is needed about the monitoring criteria in order to understand potential effects to fish and fish habitat, and potential effects to the health of Indigenous Peoples.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify the specific water quality criteria that will need to be met before discharge to the environment during decommissioning and abandonment (closure and post-closure).

B. Explain how the water quality criteria will be met and the expected timelines for meeting the criteria for all planned water discharge to the environment during decommissioning and abandonment (closure and post-closure).

IR Number: FFH(1)-39

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(i) Fish and Fish Habitat

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 1, Section 3.2;

Part 2, Section 6.2.2.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Section 4.2.4.2.2;

Chapter 5, Section 5.3.1;

Chapter 6, Section 6.5.2.1.3;

Chapter 7, Sections 7.3.1.5 and 7.3.4.5.1.2.

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.1.5 states: "The tailings contained in the existing storage facilities will be removed for reprocessing during the early operations phase."

In Chapter 6, Section 6.5.2.1.3, it is mentioned that "the historic tailings from the mine will likely be reprocessed as part of the Project for their residual gold values. In the event that these tailings are not reprocessed, they will be incorporated into the proposed design of the TMF".

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.5.1.2 of the EIS further states that "the historic TMF and PP will be discharged to Lovell Lake [typing error: Spring Lake] to maintain the current catchments […] The fate of tailings from the existing tailings pond is uncertain at this time and alternatives include re-processing, removal and disposal to the TMF, or leaving them in place". The Agency notes that each of these alternatives can have different effects on the environment, including effects to fish and fish habitat. It is unclear what the preferred alternative is.

The Agency further notes that Chapter 5, Section 5.3.1 does not include an assessment of alternatives to treating the existing tailings.

Chapter 4, Section 4.2.4.2.2 states that "one sample collected within the historic mining area […] contained a concentration of chromium, copper, cobalt, and nickel exceeding applicable standards".

Guidance on the assessment of alternative means under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, can be found in Agency's Operational Policy Statement: "Addressing "Purpose of" and "Alternative Means" under CEAA 2012": https://www.canada.ca/en/environmental-assessment-agency/news/media-room/media-room-2015/addressing-purpose-alternative-means-under-canadian-environmental-assessment-act-2012.html.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide an assessment of alternatives for managing historical tailings as per the Agency's Operational Policy Statement on Addressing "Purpose of" and "Alternative Means" under CEAA 2012;

B. Describe the changes to the environment (including changes in soil, sediments or water quality) that may result from activities associated with the preferred alternative in Question A;

C. Predict the effects on fish and fish habitat, if applicable, due to the described changes to the environment;

D. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effects to fish and fish habitat due to the described changes to the environment;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to fish and fish habitat, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: HE(1)-01

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 9, Section 5.1.2.

Context and Rationale:

Modelled concentrations for air indicators shown in TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-2 represent the maximum ambient air concentration within the local study area (LSA). The locations of these maximum concentrations in the LSA are unclear. It is important to show the concentrations of indicator compounds in Table 5.1.2-2, particularly for those with cumulative concentrations approaching or above the criteria for TSP (24-hour averaging period), PM10 (24-hour), PM2. 5 (24-hour) and NO2 (1-hour), and possibly SO2 (1-hour) under the new Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS), even with "mitigation measures incorporated into the design of the project infrastructure, facilities and operation."

The predicted maximum ambient air concentrations would be best shown as isopleths (contour plots) for all indicator compounds and averaging periods listed in Table 5.1.2-2. These plots will help in understanding areas where changes to air quality may affect human health, and to understand expected changes in air quality in locations with current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide maps with isopleths showing maximum concentrations for all indicator compounds in TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-2. Include the locations of sensitive receptors;

B. If applicable, describe additional mitigation measures that can be implemented to reduce concentrations of indicator compounds in locations where exceedances are expected;

C. Discuss how the human health risk assessment take into account the distribution of maximum concentrations of indicator compounds shown in the maps provided in question A;

D. Describe how monitoring locations in follow-up programs to validate predictions of "negligible" health effects take into account the distribution of maximum concentrations for indicator compounds shown in the maps provided in question A.

IR Number: HE(1)-02

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 5.4.

Context and Rationale:

The footnotes to TSD 9, Section 5.4, Table 5.4-2 describe the frequency of occurrences above the applicable thresholds, as percentages of days or hours when exceedances would occur in the local study area (LSA). The locations with most frequent exceedances are unclear.

The predicted frequency analysis would be best shown as isopleths (contour plots) for all indicator compounds and averaging periods listed in Table 5.1.2-2 where exceedances of thresholds are expected in the LSA. This would further assist in understanding the geographic extent of exceedances above the applicable criteria in relation to receptors.

More information is also needed about the distribution of days in the year when exceedances of indicator compounds are predicted. For example, PM10 is predicted to exceed the National Ambient Air Quality Objective of 50 ug/m3 on 22.7% of the days. This is approximately 83 days per year, or 7 days per month if evenly distributed throughout the year. It is unclear whether exceedances would be likelier at certain times of year, or under certain atmospheric or meteorological conditions.

This information will help in understanding areas where changes to air quality may affect human health, and to understand expected changes in air quality in locations with current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide maps with isopleths showing frequency of exceedances of all indicator compounds in TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-2 where exceedances of criteria in the local study area are expected. Include the locations of sensitive receptors;

B. Provide information on the expected distribution of days where exceedances of indicator compounds are predicted. Discuss the times of year or atmospheric or meteorological conditions where exceedances of indicator compounds are likelier;

C. If applicable, describe additional mitigation measures that can be implemented at times of year, or in atmospheric or meteorological conditions, where exceedances of indicator compounds would be likelier.

D. Discuss how the human health risk assessment take into account the distribution of frequency of exceedances of indicator compounds shown in the maps provided in question A;

E. Describe how monitoring locations in follow-up programs to validate predictions of "negligible" health effects take into account the distribution of frequency of exceedances of indicator compounds shown in the maps provided in question A.

IR Number: HE(1)-03

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 4.2;

TSD 9, Section 5.1.2.

Context and Rationale:

There is an inconsistency in calculations for PM10 with 24-hour averaging period in TSD 9. In TSD 9, Section 4.2, Table 4.2-1, the existing air concentration is 17.8 ug/m3; in TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-1, the maximum predicted concentration is 144 ug/m3; in TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-2, the maximum ambient air concentration, which should be the sum of the two previous values, is 194 ug/m3.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Confirm the existing air concentration, maximum predicted concentration and maximum predicted ambient air concentration for PM10 in a 24-hour averaging period.

IR Number: HE(1)-04

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1.

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 3.7.1;

TSD 9, Section 5.1.2;

TSD 14, Section 5.1;

TSD 14, Attachment 2.

Context and Rationale:

In TSD 14, Section 5.1, the "fenceline" receptor is defined as representing "the highest predicted concentrations anywhere along the project boundary". This receptor was selected "as a surrogate for potentially unidentified receptor locations within the [local study area] LSA."

There are differences between (a) the maximum ambient air concentrations in the LSA in TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-2, and (b) the concentrations for the "fenceline" receptor in the "Screening of Predicted Concentrations" tables in TSD 14, Attachment 2, Tables 4, 5 and 6. For example, the concentrations given in (a) for TSP (24-hour averaging period), PM10 (24-hour), PM2. 5 (24-hour), NO2 (1-hour) and SO2 (1-hour) are 210, 194, 42, 455 and 164 ug/m3; the concentrations for the same indicator compounds and averaging periods in (b) are 234, 200, 52, 495 and 175 ug/m3, respectively.

According to TSD 9, Section 3.7.1, Table 3.7.1-1, the only additional compound type included in "Modelling Predictions for Other Environmental Effects" used in (b) is metals from fugitive dust emissions from roads. None of the indicator compounds identified above are metals. It is unclear why the concentrations in (b) would be higher than in (a) for the indicator compounds named above.

It is important to understand what data is used to assess how changes to air quality may affect human health, and why there are apparent differences between data tables that should provide similar data.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a rationale for why the maximum ambient air concentrations for compounds in the LSA in TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-2 are different from the concentrations used for the "fenceline" receptor in the "Screening of Predicted Concentrations" tables in TSD 14, Attachment 2, Tables 4, 5 and 6 for TSP, PM10, PM2. 5, NO2 and SO2;

B. If the two sets of concentrations should be the same for these indicator compounds, provide a table with the correct predictions for maximum air quality concentrations to be carried forward into the human health risk assessment.

IR Number: HE(1)-05

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 5.1.1;

TSD 9, Section 6.1.

Context and Rationale:

The emission rates for NO2 and SO2 in TSD 9, Section 5.1.1, Table 5.1.1-1 appear to match the emission rates assumed for SO2 and CO, respectively, in TSD 9, Section 6.1, Table 6.1-1. This is possibly an error.

It is important to understand which values are correct for the detailed technical review, to understand how the air emissions model was developed.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify the correct emission rates in Tables 5.1.1-1 and 6.1-1 with the correct emission rates;

B. If necessary, revise the predictions for ambient air concentrations and for "Modelling Predictions for Other Environmental Effects" for NO2, SO2 and CO, and provide a table with the correct predictions.

IR Number: HE(1)-06

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Appendix 3.II, Section 2.0;

TSD 9, Appendix 3.V.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 9, Appendix 3.II, Section 2.0 indicates that "volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were not considered in this [air quality] assessment". However, the tables of predicted concentrations at key receptor points in TSD 9, Appendix 3.V gives predicted concentrations for multiple VOCs. It is unclear whether the VOC concentrations in TSD 9, Appendix 3.V include contributions of the Project.

It is also unclear why the VOC concentrations for the "fenceline" receptor are not brought forward into the "Screening of Predicted Concentrations" tables in TSD 14, Attachment 2, Tables 4, 5 and 6, for the human health risk assessment. It is important to understand what data is used to assess how changes to air quality may affect human health.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify whether the concentrations of VOCs given in TSD 9, Appendix 3.V include contributions from the Project;

B. Describe mitigation measures that are used to reduce emissions of VOCs from the project;

C. Incorporate the concentrations of VOCs for the "fenceline" receptor in TSD 9, Appendix 3.V to the human health risk assessment, or provide a rationale for not carrying them forward.

IR Number: HE(1)-07

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Attachment 2;

TSD 9, Section 5.2;

TSD 9, Appendix 3.III, Section 5.0;

TSD 9, Appendix 3.IV, Section 4.3.

Context and Rationale:

In TSD 14, Attachment 2, Tables 4, 5 and 6, the maximum predicted concentrations of NOx for 1-hour, 24-hour and annual averaging periods are 4392.0, 1450.3 and 148.5 ug/m3, respectively. The maximum predicted concentrations of NO2 for 1-hour, 24-hour and annual averaging periods are 494.8, 199.2 and 61.4 ug/m3, respectively.

While there are no federal or provincial objectives for NOx, there are National Ambient Air Quality Objectives (NAAQO) for NO2 for 1-hour, 24-hour and annual averaging periods of 400, 200 and 100 ug/m3, respectively. With the maximum predicted NO2 concentration for 1-hour averaging period exceeding the NAAQO, and the maximum for the 24-hour averaging period approaching the NAAQO, it is important to ensure that estimates of NO2 from NOx are conservative, to understand potential effects to human health from inhalation.

According to TSD 9, Appendix 3.III, Section 5.0, Table 5-2, approximately 94% of NOx emissions are expected from four sources (PIT_TP, PITUPR_TP, UPR5_TP, and UPR3_TP) identified as tailpipe emissions. It is unclear, from the list of mitigation measures provided in TSD 9, Section 5.2, what specific mitigation measures will reduce nitrogen oxide emissions during the Project.

More details are needed to understand how NO2 concentrations were calculated from NOx concentrations. It is stated in TSD 9, Appendix 3.IV, Section 4.3 that Cole and Summerhays' Ozone Limiting Method was used to calculate NO2 concentrations from the estimated NOx concentrations. It is unclear what parameters or assumptions were used in the calculations, other than that the 90th percentile of the existing eight-hour ground-level ozone concentrations were used.

It is also noted in TSD 9, Section 3.4 that "ozone (O3) was not identified as an indicator compound for the Project because it will not be directly emitted as a result of Project activities. Moreover, the emissions of NOx and other "precursor" compounds that can contribute to the photochemical formation of ozone will not be emitted in sufficient amounts to have a measurable effect on ozone." A rationale is needed to justify that emissions of NOx will not be sufficient to have a measurable effect on ozone.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide details and examples of the calculations used to predict maximum NO2 concentrations from the assumed NOx concentrations. Specify the concentration of ozone that is assumed in the model.

B. Demonstrate that the assumptions made in the calculations of NO2 concentrations are conservative.

C. Include ozone as an indicator compound in the air quality assessment, or provide a rationale that shows that emissions of NOx are not sufficient to have a measurable effect on ozone concentrations.

D. Discuss how emissions of nitrogen oxides from the Project could lead to the formation of nitric acid in the atmosphere, which could fall as acidic rain.

E. Describe mitigation measures that are used to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides from the Project;

F. If necessary, revise the human health risk assessment to take into account concentrations of ozone and updated concentrations of nitrogen oxides.

IR Number: HE(1)-08

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 9, Section 3.5.2.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 9, Section 3.5.2, Table 3.5.2-2 uses the Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for 24-hour averaging period that will come into effect in 2020 (27 ug/m3), but does not use the CAAQS for the annual averaging period that will come into effect in 2020 (8.8 ug/m3).

This table should also use the new CAAQS for sulphur dioxide (SO2) that were recently released and will come into effect in 2020. For more information on the new SO2 standards, please visit: http://www.ccme.ca/en/resources/air/air/sulphur-dioxide.html.

These updated CAAQS should be considered in the assessment of changes to air quality, and then incorporated into the assessment of effects on human health.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Compare predicted ambient SO224-hour levels and PM2. 5 annual levels to the new CAAQS, and revise the analysis of significance accordingly.

B. Describe additional mitigation measures to reduce SO2 or PM2. 5 levels to meet the updated CAAQS thresholds.

C. Revise the human health risk assessment to account for updated CAAQS thresholds for SO224-hour levels and PM2. 5 annual levels.

IR Number: HE(1)-09

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 9, Appendix 3.III, Section 3.8.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 9, Appendix 3.III, Section 3.8 indicates that air emission estimate calculations assumed a silt content of 5.8% in fugitive emissions, based on the US EPA document AP-42 and a control efficiency of 80% due to the implementation of best management practices (BMPs). The AP-42 Table 13.2.2-1 provides silt content ranging from 2.4 - 16% with a mean value of 10. Other sources, such as the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation (CEMI) August 2010, suggest a mean silt content of 9.14% for Ontario mining sites.

As the projected 80% control efficiency is not described in any sections related to mitigation measures in the TSDs, a more conservative approach is appropriate. For example, the Australian government NPI Manual for Mining indicates that control efficiencies for watering on haul roads are 50-75% depending on watering rates.

These assumptions influence the air emission dispersion modelling results. If these assumptions are not reasonably conservative, the predicted concentrations could underestimate potential changes to air quality from the project, and therefore, effects on human health.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a rationale to support the prediction of silt content of 5.8% and a control efficiency of 80%, taking into consideration that dust emissions are directly proportional to the silt content;

B. Clarify whether the 80% control efficiency was applied to all sources of fugitive dust, such as material handling in the pit and on the surface, and the Tailings Management Facility (TMF)/Mine Rock Management Facility (MRMF).

IR Number: HE(1)-10

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 9, Appendix 3.III, Section 4.3, Table 4.3-1

Context and Rationale:

The SO2 emission factor for the cyanide destruction process provided in TSD9, Appendix 3.II, Section 4.3, Table 4.3-1 is said to be "based on Golder's experience with various gold mining operations similar to [the Magino Gold Mine] operations." As the cyanide destruction process is predicted to represent approximately 79% of the project's overall emissions of SO2 (according to TSD 9, Appendix 3.III, Section 5.0, Table 5.2, source ID OPR4), it is important to understand how this particular emission factor was derived. If these assumptions are not reasonably conservative, the predicted concentrations could underestimate potential changes to air quality from the project, and therefore, effects on human health.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide additional information such as references, supporting documents, studies or testing results used to determine the SO2 emission factor for the cyanide destruction process.

IR Number: HE(1)-11

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 9, Appendix 3.III, Section 2.0.

Context and Rationale:

According to TSD 9, Appendix 3.III, Section 2.0, Table 2-1, emissions related to off-site vehicle traffic (i.e., project vehicles travelling to/from the site or used for transportation of processed supplies off-site) were not considered in the air quality assessment. According to Chapter 6, Section 6.5.2.11, "transportation of construction material, equipment, supplies, fuel and reagent is expected to add an additional 200 to 300 trips per day during peak construction activities." It is unclear if the number of off-site trips per day will be added during the operations phase.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Include off-site project vehicle traffic air emissions associated with the Project in the air quality assessment, or provide a rationale for not including this source of emissions;

B. Describe mitigation measures to reduce emissions of combustion gases from off-site project vehicle traffic associated with the Project.

IR Number: HE(1)-12

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.3.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 5.2;

TSD 20-11, Section 3.0.

Context and Rationale:

The proposed mitigation measures for air quality in TSD 9, Section 5.2 and TSD 20-11, Section 3.0 lack details to understand the outcomes to be achieved through mitigation, triggers for the implementation of mitigation measures, and practices to control air emissions. Additional details should be provided to better understand the effectiveness of such measures.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Update the Air Quality Management Plan to state environmental outcomes to be achieved and specific actions (mitigation measures and project design elements) that would be in place to achieve those outcomes, ongoing monitoring programs triggers for follow-up or additional actions, information sharing and communication with potentially impacted receptors based on established outcomes).

IR Number: HE(1)-13

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 9.1 ;

Part 2, Section 9.2.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 10, Section 10.9;

TSD 9, Section 5.1;

TSD 9, Section 9.1.2.3;

TSD 20-11, Section 6.2.1.

Context and Rationale:

It is unclear what air quality indicator compounds are proposed to be monitored during the project. In TSD 9, Section 8.1.2.3, ambient air quality monitoring is only planned for total suspended particulate (TSP) and PM10 during the operations phase, and "can be discontinued once the data are available and consistent" (Table 8.1.2-1). In TSD 20-11, Section 6.2.1, the ambient air quality monitoring program would include SO2, NO2, O3, dustfall and CO samples, and focus on TSP and dust deposition during construction and operation phases. (The list of performance indicators and thresholds in Table 2 also include CO, which is not mentioned in Section 6.2.1.) In Chapter 10, Section 10-9, Table 10-8, air quality monitoring of diesel PM, cadmium, sodium hydroxide, and manganese is also proposed in the "monitoring program for human health VC".

Ambient air quality monitoring is recommended for at least TSP, PM10, PM2. 5, NO2 and SO2 during the construction and operations phases of the project, since according to TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-2, maximum ambient air concentrations are predicted to be above the applicable criteria in the Local Study Area (LSA) for TSP (24-hour averaging period), PM10 (24-hour), PM2. 5 (24-hour) and NO2 (1-hour), and new SO224-hour objectives, and approaches the objective for NO2 (24-hour). The monitoring should be conducted continuously and not periodically, and be evaluated on an annual basis. It is important to conduct monitoring during both the construction and operations phases to ensure that any exceedances of the applicable air quality criteria can be mitigated through the implementation of timely measures.

In TSD 20-11, Section 6.2.1, it is stated that "Table 2 presents an overview of the indicators and corrective action to be taken should thresholds be exceeded." No overview of corrective actions is presented in Table 2, or elsewhere in TSD 20-11.

This information is needed so that the Agency and reviewers are clear on how air quality predictions will be confirmed through follow-up, and how the monitoring will be incorporated into the proponent's proposed follow-up program for human health.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify which indicator compounds will be monitored during each phase of the Project, and how the monitoring will be incorporated into the proposed follow-up program for human health. If any of TSP, PM10, PM2.5, dustfall, SO2, NO2, O3, cadmium, manganese or sodium hydroxide are excluded from the monitoring program, provide a rationale for its exclusion.

B. Describe the "overview of corrective action to be taken should thresholds be exceeded", which according to TSD 20-11, was to be included in Table 2.

C. In the final environmental monitoring plan for air quality, include details of the monitoring parameters, methods, sampling locations, applicable standards, duration, and frequencies to be developed prior to commencing work for the construction phase. The monitoring should be conducted continuously and not periodically and be evaluated on an annual basis.

IR Number: HE(1)-18

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 3.6.2;

TSD 11, Section 5.2.2;

TSD 12, Section 3.3.4;

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 4.1.

Context and Rationale:

As discussed in IR IE(1)-01, receptor locations HHR007/POR7, HHR008/POR8, HHR009/POR9 and HHR011/POR11 are identified in TSD 9, Section 3.6.2, Figure 3.6.2-1 and TSD 12, Section 3.3.4, Figure 3.3.4-1, but they are not carried forward in the air quality, noise, vibration (except for POR9), or human health risk assessments. (Note that in describing the selection of receptors for the human health risk assessment in TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 4.1, the reader is referred to "Figure 5.1.1-1", which does not exist in that TSD.)

There is no rationale given in TSD 9, TSD 11, TSD 12 or TSD 14 for excluding these identified receptor locations from the effects assessment. These receptor locations are in locations where exceedances of noise thresholds (NPC-300) are likely to occur according to TSD 11, Section 5.2.2, Figure 5.2.2-1. Exceedances of air quality thresholds could also occur, as TSD 9, Section 5.1.2, Table 5.1.2-2 show maximum ambient air concentration above provincial and federal thresholds within the local study area (LSA).

Any receptors identified in IE(1)-01 should be included in the air quality, noise, vibration and human health risk assessments. Since these receptors are locations where current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes may be maintained during the project, and located downwind from emission sources, it is important to understand how changes from the project may lead to effects on human health.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Include the list of receptor locations identified in IR IE(1)-01 in the air quality, noise and vibration assessments and in the human health risk assessment. If any of these locations are not used in these assessments, provide a rationale for excluding these points. In particular, if HHR007/POR7, HHR008/POR8, HHR009/POR9 and HHR011/POR11 are not included, provide a rationale that explains why HHR010/POR10, which is located farther away from the project boundary than these four receptors, was included in the human health risk assessment;

B. Provide an updated human health risk assessment that includes:

  • specific and measurable mitigation measures;
  • a rationale and analysis of conclusions for residual effects;
  • determination of significance of residual effects with magnitude levels based on quantitative descriptors (see IR HE(1)-19);
  • a follow-up program for potential effects to human health, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures; and
  • input from Indigenous groups on the methodology (including significance criteria), mitigation measures, follow-up programs and conclusions for residual effects.

IR Number: HE(1)-19

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Section 3.4;

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.1.

Context and Rationale:

The magnitude levels in human health (TSD 14, Section 3.4, Table 3.4-2) should use quantitative descriptors, i.e., based on hazard quotients (HQ) and incremental lifetime cancer risk (ILCR). The use of qualitative descriptors for magnitude levels, such as "project-related environmental exposures are likely to result in a long-term, substantive change in human health" for high magnitude, makes the determination less clear. Magnitude levels should be defined based on the degree of the effect, without likelihood or duration.

No decision tree similar to TSD 9, Section 3.5.2, Figure 3.5.2-1 is provided for human health to show how the different effects criteria in TSD 14, Section 3.4, Table 3.4-1 are used to determine the significance of residual effects. Instead, it is stated in TSD 14, Section 3.4.2, that "a significant residual effect to Human Health is defined as a project-related environmental exposure, predicted via a HHRA (Appendix A), that exceeds regulatory benchmarks (i.e., a health risk) established by federal and/or provincial agencies and is likely to result in a long-term, substantive change to human health."

As a result of these definitions, although several indicator compounds demonstrate HQ values above 1 and ILCR values above 10-5, the project-related health effects are determined to be of "negligible" magnitude, citing conservatism in assumptions, estimates, modelling and infrequency of exceedances (TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 9.0)

In TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.1, it is stated that the HQ will exceed 1 for 1-hour NO2 (less than 1% of the time), 1-hour cadmium (less than 0.5% of the time) and 24-hour PM2. 5 (approximately 2% of the time). The magnitude of the effect is considered to be of "negligible" magnitude (defined as "project-related environmental exposures do not result in a change in human health" in TSD 14, Section 3.4.2) due to the infrequency of exceedances. Predicted exceedances of federal or provincial thresholds, even if infrequent, should not be considered as "negligible" magnitude. A decision tree would demonstrate how the magnitude of the exceedance is considered with the other criteria (geographic extent, duration, frequency, irreversibility, ecological and social context).

TSD 14, Section 3.4 states that "if project-related environmental exposures are predicted to be less than regulatory benchmarks, then health effects are not expected and by extension a change in human health is not expected." This statement is misleading, as it is only true in the context of threshold chemicals. Carcinogenic chemicals can result in human health effects at any dose. PM2. 5 is a known human carcinogen that has been identified at this site. The significance determination for human health should account for exposures with HQ values below 1 that are constant and of long-term duration., as effects on human health can occur in these cases.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide an approach to determining significance of effects on applicable human health receptors where the magnitude criterion is defined based on quantitative descriptors for the degree of effect, such as hazard quotient and incremental lifetime cancer risk;

B. Provide a decision tree that clearly shows how the different effects criteria in TSD 14, Section 3.4, Table 3.4-1 are used to determine the significance of residual effects. Provide a rationale for any effects criteria that are not considered in the determination of significance for human health;

C. Carry carcinogenic chemicals with constant and long-term exposures through the human health risk assessment, even if HQ values are expected to remain below 1;

D. Describe the follow-up program to validate predictions of "negligible" health effects related to exposure of NO2, cadmium and PM2. 5.

IR Number: HE(1)-20

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.1.

Context and Rationale:

It is unclear whether some receptor characteristics presented in TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.1 are based on site-specific information. Additionally, supporting references and justification for the information provided in this report are unclear.

In TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.1, Table 5.1-1, it is indicated that the exposure duration for all receptors is estimated to be only 20 years. Although the duration of the life of the mine is estimated to be 20 years, environmental impacts related to the Project to the surrounding area would not discontinue immediately upon closure of the site.

In TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.1, it is indicated that "it was considered most likely that trappers would be best represented by the adult life stage". It is unclear whether it was confirmed that teenagers would not be present at the trappers' cabin before ruling them out as a potential receptor.

In TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.1, it is states that "…consistent with Health Canada guidance (Health Canada 2012), it was considered that Aboriginal members of communities would spend 1.5 hours each day for 365 days per year outdoors." Health Canada's guidance indicates that all Canadians spend an average of 1.5 hours per day outdoors, but it is likely that Aboriginal receptors in a remote community would spend more time than that outdoors. Further, given the proximity of the local community to the proposed mine site, it is likely that human receptors may experience exposure to contaminants from outdoor air while residing indoors (e.g., via open windows and doors). Therefore, an exposure duration of 1.5 hours/day may not be accurate for a remote community.

These clarifications are necessary to understand the assumptions made in evaluating potential effects on human health.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Revise the assumed exposure duration of 20 years for all receptors in the human health risk assessment, or provide further rationale to support the assumption that exposure would only occur for 20 years;

B. Confirm whether teenagers would be present at the trappers' cabin, and if so, consider them as a receptor in the human health risk assessment;

C. Revise the assumed exposure duration for Aboriginal receptors in the human health risk assessment, or provide further rationale to support that assumption for Aboriginal residents in the areas of the Project;

D. Where any revisions are made to the assumptions in questions A to C, describe how the conclusions of the human health risk assessment have changed.

IR Number: HE(1)-21

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.2;

TSD 14, Appendix A, Attachment 6.

Context and Rationale:

In TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.2, the hazard quotient (HQ) is cited as being "due to chronic exposure [chemicals of potential concern] COPCs in soil, water and air". The estimated HQs are provided in TSD 14, Appendix A, Attachment 6, Tables 5 and 7, but these tables do not include air as a pathway of exposure, only exposures from soil, water and country foods.

The effects of inhalation are assessed independently from those from multi-pathway exposure (soil, water, country foods), as shown in TSD 14, Appendix A, Attachment 6, Tables 1 to 3.

Some compounds have an overall HQ from inhalation and exposure to soil, water and country foods above 1. For example, TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.1, Table 7.1-1 and Section 7.2, Table 7.2-1 show HQ values for cadmium at or above 1 for both pathways. Where a COPC shows an overall HQ that is at or above 1 for both pathways, consideration must be given to whether there are overlapping effects on organ targets., to ensure that potential effects on human health are not underestimated.

For additional information on how to estimate risk from multiple exposure pathway/routes, refer to Health Canada's guidance (2010) "Federal Contaminated Site Risk Assessment in Canada, Part V: Guidance on Human Health Detailed Quantitative Risk Assessment for Chemicals (DQRACHEM)".

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a rationale for assessing the inhalation exposure pathway separately from the other exposure pathways in the human health risk assessment;

B. For compounds where overall HQs from the multiple pathways is at or above 1, provide further information on whether target organs may be similar between inhalation and ingestion exposure pathways.

IR Number: HE(1)-22

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 4.3.

Context and Rationale:

Several compounds were considered in the human health risk assessment in the draft EIS provided to the Agency in 2014, and predicted concentrations are listed in the AERMOD Air Dispersion Modelling Predictions for Human Health in TSD 9, Appendix 3.V. It is unclear why these compounds were not included in the human health risk assessment, as described in TSD 14, Attachment 2, Tables 4 to 6. These clarifications are necessary to ensure that all potential contaminants of concern are evaluated as part of the human health risk assessment.

Acrolein shows, in TSD 9, Appendix 3.V, predicted concentrations at the fenceline receptor of 20.5 ug/m3 (1-hour averaging period) and 7.1 ug/m3 (24-hour averaging period). Both exceed Ontario's 2012 Ambient Air Quality Criteria (AAQC), based on health as the limiting effect, of 4.5 ug/m3 and 0.4 ug/m3, respectively.

Aldehyde and ethylene concentrations are listed in TSD 9, Appendix 3.V. In TSD 14, Attachment 2, Section 1.4, Table 1.4-1, it is stated for aldehyde and ethylene that "screening standards were not available; therefore, these substances were carried forward in the [human health risk] assessment." However, these compounds are not found in the human health risk assessment (TSD 14, Attachment 2, Tables 4 to 6),, and no rationale is provided for excluding them.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Include acrolein, aldehyde and ethylene in the human health risk assessment, or provide a clear rationale for excluding each compound from the human health risk assessment.

B. Describe mitigation measures, where necessary, to further reduce exposure to these compounds from inhalation.

IR Number: HE(1)-23

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.2;

TSD 14, Attachment 1, Table 1.4-1.

Context and Rationale:

In TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.2, predicted arsenic concentrations in Otto Lake and Goudreau Lake are compared to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency 2016 standards (CFIA 2016) to justify that health risks due to consumption of fish are negligible. The use of CFIA 2016 is not relevant in determining potential health risks from chemicals in country foods, as the "Fish Products Standards" are for determining the acceptability of retail fish and fish products only. Per Chapter 1, Section 2.3 of the standard, it does not cover chemical contamination, and therefore is not relevant for HHRA interpretation. Please see http://www.inspection.gc.ca/food/fish-and-seafood/manuals/standards-and-methods/eng/1348608971859/1348609209602?chap=0#s20c7 for more detailed info.

It is important to ensure that the assessment of effects on the health of Indigenous peoples is based on appropriate consumption patterns. CFIA guidelines for chemicals in fish were developed with commercial fish consumption patterns in mind, and are not necessarily appropriate for a comparison to First Nations populations consuming country foods.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a detailed rationale to support the use of CFIA 2016, or provide a more thorough assessment of the exposure pathway of arsenic through fish in the HHRA. This would involve carrying arsenic forward as a chemical of potential concern past the screening stage in the HHRA for additional assessment (i.e., calculate exposure estimates using site-specific consumption patterns - as available, selecting an appropriate oral TRV, and completing a risk characterization);

B. Describe mitigation measures to further reduce exposure to arsenic from the ingestion of fish.

IR Number: HE(1)-24

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.2;

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 8.0;

TSD 14, Attachment 3, Section 1.3.

Context and Rationale:

Some sources of uncertainty in the HHRA are a lack of baseline data for wild game and contaminant uptake. These uncertainties are not considered in TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 8.0, in considerations for mitigation measures or monitoring.

TSD 14, Appendix A, Attachment 1, Section 1.4 indicates that "muscle and liver were analyzed in select fishes for total content of a suite of metals." It is unclear whether fish tissue sampling that is limited to muscle and liver represents the actual uses and consumption habits of the Indigenous communities that were consulted (i.e., other parts of the fish such as organs as skin may also be consumed). Limiting sampling to muscle and liver tissue may not fully represent potential effects to human health from consumption of fish. Further, wildlife consumption considerations should employ a whole-fish analysis, because most wildlife that eats fish would eat more than just the muscle tissue.

According to TSD 14, Attachment 3, Section 1.3, moose is selected as a surrogate receptor for wild game in the HHRA. No baseline data is provided for moose tissue. Exposure factors used for this herbivorous animal don't capture bioaccumulation as an element in the risk assessment. As a result, fish tissue ingestion (which takes bioconcentration factor into account) drives the risk to a much greater degree than wild game ingestion for all COPC except vanadium.

Monitoring for country foods is important here because, based on the HHRA, elevated HQs largely driven by the fish ingestion pathway (TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7.2). It is important to validate assumptions that were made in the exposure and risk calculations.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Demonstrate that assumptions about country food consumption in the human health risk assessment, including portions of fish and wild game consumed by Indigenous peoples, are supported by local traditional knowledge and land use, and does not underestimate potential health risks from consumption of other country food species in the local study area.

B. Ensure that baseline concentrations of metals in fish tissue represent the whole fish instead of just the muscle and liver, if it is determined that this is how Indigenous communities consume fish.

C. Complete an uncertainty analysis to put into perspective the sensitivity of the human health risk assessment outcome to the uncertainty associated with contaminant levels in country foods;

D. Outline a follow-up program to validate assumptions made in the exposure and risk calculations made for country foods, particularly where there is a lack of baseline data for wild game.

IR Number: HE(1)-25

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 9.0.

Context and Rationale:

According to TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 9.0, "potential health risks were identified in the HHRA as a result of Project-related changes to air quality and water quality; however, considering the assumptions and conservative approach relied upon in the HHRA, potential health effects from the Project are not expected. Overall, there is no residual effect of project-related environmental exposures on human health..." It is not appropriate to rely on the conservative approach to conclude that identified potential health effects from the Project are not expected.

If it is believed that the assumptions used are overly conservative, then a discussion should be provided. This discussion would include carrying out an uncertainty analysis in which the level of conservativeness is quantified for each of the input parameters and the impacts or significance to the risk estimates discussed. In this way, the risk drivers could be identified and a discussion can be provided on how well those drivers are known in the context of the site. This will allow for the risks to be put into context for the reader and also allow for the development of future monitoring activities that would focus on those risk drivers.

In TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.1, it is stated that "for the multi-pathway assessment, the only receptor that was retained was the seasonal/recreational user at the fence line". It is unclear why only a single receptor would remain in the multi-pathway assessment. In order to provide a full set of detailed quantitative results that can be used to support the conclusions drawn in this report, each receptor described should undergo a full quantitative assessment to determine potential effects to human health. As only one receptor underwent a full quantitative assessment, there is no evidence to support the conservatism referred to in the conclusions.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Carry out an uncertainty analysis to determine how overly-conservative the assumptions used in the assessment are, and demonstrate how this justifies the conclusion that there are no potential effects to human health;

B. Clarify why only one receptor was carried forward in the quantitative assessment.

IR Number: HE(1)-26

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.2;

Part 2, Section 9.2.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.2.5, 7.3.2.7 and 7.3.2.11;

Chapter 7, Table 7-55;

TSD 4;

TSD 7;

TSD 20-9.

Context and Rationale:

The Tailings Management Facility (TMF) seepage ("TMF Water") is predicted to have concentrations exceeding the Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (CDWQG) for the following parameters: nitrate, total cyanide, arsenic and selenium. Although Table 7-54 summarizes baseline groundwater quality in the PSA and effluent quality ("TMF water", "MRMF [Mine Rock Management Facility] leachate" and "pit water"), no prediction of future groundwater quality in the PSA, or local or regional study areas, were found in the EIS or supporting documents.

The conclusion that "while the changes to groundwater quality will last for several decades, the potential future beneficial uses are not affected" appears unsubstantiated and contradictory.

The locations of the proposed monitoring wells are not presented in the Environmental Monitoring Plan (TSD 20-9) as indicated (Figure 1 is missing). It is not possible to comment on the adequacy of the monitoring program without knowing where the monitoring will occur compared to current or reasonably foreseeable groundwater sources of drinking water.

The uncertainty analysis does not include details on the expected effectiveness of seepage collection systems and closure covers.

It is not clear whether it is probable that pit lake water will migrate to the groundwater system as the following statements are contradictory:

"the potential effects to groundwater quality will be the result of (...), and possibly from slow migration of pit lake water into groundwater when the pit becomes full" and "The pit lake water will not have an effect on groundwater quality except to the extent that it causes water from under the TMF/MRMF to migrate toward the pit."

This information is required to understand the changes of the project on groundwater quality and potential effects on the health of Indigenous Peoples.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a justification for the claim that the potential use of groundwater resources will not be affected when changes to water quality are predicted to last for several decades;

B. Define the predicted groundwater quality within the PSA ad assess the potential for contaminants to reach current or reasonably foreseeable groundwater sources of drinking water;

C. Provide examples of adaptive management measures that could be implemented should the TMF/MRMF seepage collection systems be less effective than planned;

D. Provide the locations of the groundwater monitoring wells;

E. Update the uncertainty analysis to include details on the expected effectiveness of seepage collection systems and closure covers;

F. Clarify the contradicting statements.

IR Number: HE(1)-27

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 3.5.2, Table 3.5.2-1;

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.3.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 9, Section 3.5.2 indicates that effects on air quality are measured against magnitude criteria that are based on the outdated National Air Quality Objectives (NAAQO) and/or Canadian Ambient Air Quality Standards (CAAQS) for each indicator.

The proponent must design its project to meet criteria that will be in place during the life of the project. Since the mine site will operate beyond 2020, the proponent should use the CAAQS that will be in place in 2020 and 2025.

If predicted SO2 concentrations are compared to the new standards (183 µg/m3 in 2020 and 170 µg/m3 in 2025), there are exceedances at fence-line (428.364 ug/m3), and at the local study areas for both the Project alone (1hr = 386.34 ug/m3) and the Project+ baseline (1 hr =389.14 ug/m3) scenarios. Therefore there are potential health effects of SO2 from this project based on analysis using more recent and relevant health-based guidelines. Monitoring and mitigation measures for SO2 should be considered.

CAAQs should also be referenced in TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.3.

This information is required to understand the changes of the project on air quality and potential effects on the health of Indigenous Peoples.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Revise the assessment on the project's effects on air quality using the CAAQs that will be in place in 2020 and 2025, including any necessary mitigation measures, significance of residual effects, and monitoring and follow-up programs.

B. Revise the project effects on the health of Indigenous Peoples based on the response to Questions A.

C. Describe any measures necessary to mitigated effects described in the updated assessments in A and B.

D. Provide an updated significance determination of any residual effects identified in the updated assessments resulting from answers to Questions A - C.

Reference for the new CAAQS: http://www.ccme.ca/en/resources/air/air/sulphur-dioxide.html

IR Number: HE(1)-28

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.1;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: TSD 14, Attachment 3, Section 1.1.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 14, Attachment 3, Section 1.1 provides the unit conversion factor for the calculation of Incremental Soil Concentrations as "([mg/m²]/[kg?cm²])", where it should be (mg·m2)/(kg·cm2) as per the US EPA reference provided.

Using the incorrect conversion factor could result in error in the contaminant concentrations used to calculate human health risks from ingestion.

The Agency requires clarification in order to understand the potential for effects to the health of Indigenous Peoples.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify if the unit conversion factor provided in TSD 14 were used in the calculations;

B. Revise the Human Health Risk Assessment ensuring that the appropriate units were used in the calculations;

C. Revise, as appropriate, the effects assessment on the Health of Indigenous Peoples, taking into account necessary revisions required in Questions A and B.

IR Number: TW(1)-01

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds;

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes;

5(2) Linked to Regulatory Permits/Authorizations.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4;

Part 2, Section 6.3.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Sections 7.4.2, 7.4.3, 7.4.4, 7.4.5, 7.4.6, 7.4.7.

Context and Rationale:

Part 2, Section 6.3 of the EIS Guidelines states that each mitigation measure "will be specific, achievable, measurable and verifiable, and described in a manner that avoids ambiguity in intent, interpretation and implementation."

Sections 7.4.2-7.4.7 of Chapter 7, contain several references to the progressive restoration plan, forest restoration plan, and closure plan with no real cohesiveness between these plans.

For example, Chapter 7, Section 7.4.6 states: "A requirement for planting of berry-producing species will be included in the forest restoration plan."

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.4.9 also states that the native habitat for the Common Nighthawk "can and will be restored as part of progressive restoration and/or closure plan".

Elements of restoration plans are included as mitigation measures in various sections and are used to support the conclusion of non- significance for several residual effects (e.g. habitat loss for mammals and the Common Nighthawk, which is a species at risk and a migratory bird). However, there is no indication as to whether the various mitigation measures fit together in a cohesive manner or are in fact put forward to the closure plan. The preliminary closure plan in TSD 19 does not provide any such information. This information is required to substantiate the conclusions made in the significance assessment.

This information is important for the Agency to understand as the residual effects in question may result in potential indirect effects to species of interest to Indigenous groups.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a summary of the main elements of the restoration/closure plans. These should make reference to the specific restoration/rehabilitation/ reclamation measures mentioned in the EIS as mitigation measures;

B. Explain how/whether the forest restoration plan, progressive restoration plan, and closure plan will be implemented and their relationship to one another to create a site rehabilitation plan that would be implemented as applicable during all phases of the Project.

IR Number: TW(1)-02

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.4.5, 7.4.6.

Context and Rationale:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4 of the EIS Guidelines requires the proponent to consider "direct bird or wildlife mortality that could be caused by clearing of sites or birds and wildlife being in contact with contaminated waters"

The Agency is uncertain about the quantity and location of detention ponds, referred to as the "Water Quality Control Pond (WQCP)" and "water quality ponds" interchangeably in the EIS. It is noted that the WQCP is located west of the tailings management facility; however, it is unclear where the other water quality ponds will be located.

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.6.5.3 states: "Discharge of water from the operation to water quality ponds provides a short term source of heavy metals that could lead to increased body burdens in some species." It is further stated in Chapter 7, Section 7.4.5.5.2 that "some waterfowl may be attracted to the tailings pond and water quality control pond".

It is likely that the tailings pond and water quality control pond will contain heavy metals and other contaminants as stated in Section 7.4.5.5.2 of the same chapter: "The water in these ponds and wetlands may not meet guidelines, resulting in an increased exposure of waterfowl to contaminants". The Agency notes that the residual effects of these contaminants on furbearers and waterfowl, specifically as they relate to heavy metals, are not assessed in the EIS.

Furthermore, Chapter 7, Section 7.4.6.6 states: "Where technically and economically feasible, measures will be implemented to exclude access by mammals to water quality ponds." The Agency notes that there are insufficient details in Chapter 7 regarding measures to mitigate the effects of contaminants on furbearers and waterfowl or to discourage use of these ponds by waterfowl and furbearers.

This information is important as furbearers are a species commonly hunted by the surveyed Indigenous groups, and waterfowl are considered migratory birds in the EIS.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a list of water quality ponds that will be affected by the input of contaminants and their locations in the project area;

B. Provide a list of contaminants expected to be released into the water quality ponds and describe the potential changes in water quality of surrounding waterbodies as a result;

C. Describe the effects on waterfowl and furbearers due to heavy metals and other contaminants changing the water quality;

D. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effects on waterfowl and furbearers as described in Question C;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Reassess the significance assessment, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to E into account;

G. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to waterfowl and furbearers, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: TW(1)-03

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds

5(2) Linked to Regulatory Permits/Authorizations

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.4.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.4.5.

Context and Rationale:

The Agency noted some uncertainties in the collection of baseline data and review of effects on canopy warblers, which are categorized as migratory birds and in the case of Canada Warbler, it is listed on Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act.

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.5.5.1 states: "16 species of canopy warblers were documented in surveys, of which 11 are sensitive to reduction in the patch sizes of the canopy". Section 7.4.5.8.1 further states that these 11 area sensitive canopy warblers were found in the PSA.

As a map with survey locations was not provided and there were no further details regarding collection of baseline data beyond the statements above, the Agency is uncertain about whether these surveys were also conducted in the LSA and RSA. In addition, it is unclear where the 5 non-area sensitive species were identified. This is important for the Agency to understand the baseline conditions for canopy warblers.

Furthermore, Section 7.4.5.5 states: "area sensitive species might not remain within the watersheds of the LSA, but would likely move elsewhere and persist in the RSA and beyond." Section 7.4.5.8 also states: "the ecosites utilized by the canopy warblers are well represented in the LSA and RSA […] the surrounding forest is robust and offers breeding opportunities." This rationale is used to justify a low magnitude when it comes to the "Loss of mature forest canopy habitat for warblers" in the significance assessment. However, it does not take into account the potential for exceeding the carrying capacity of the suitable canopy warbler habitat in the local and regional study area and beyond (due to the fact that such habitats may already be saturated with similar birds). This could mean that a large portion of the suitable habitat outside the project study area may not be available.

Finally, under Table 7-142, the "Loss of mature forest canopy habitat for warblers" is reported to have a low duration, with a rationale that the "Effects occur during site preparation and progressive rehabilitation may be undertaken." However, it is unclear under what circumstances progressive rehabilitation would become necessary and occur.

Section 7.4.5.5.1 of the same chapter also states: "The final rehabilitation of mining waste management facilities and the site rehabilitation will provide opportunities for the eventual replacement of some canopy warbler habitat through the restoration of upland forests". In the absence of a progressive rehabilitation plan, canopy warbler habitat may only begin to be restored at the abandonment phase. With this information, it is unclear why the duration of the effect is deemed low.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide the location of where these 16 species of canopy warblers were surveyed in the project, local, and regional study areas;

B. Describe the implementation of specific mitigation measures associated with progressive rehabilitation that will reduce the effects of habitat loss on canopy warbler habitat (if applicable);

C. Reassess the magnitude for the "Loss of mature forest canopy habitat for warblers" taking into account potentially oversaturated habitat in the LSA and RSA.

D. Reassess the duration for the "Loss of mature forest canopy habitat for warblers" if rehabilitation measures will not be carried out progressively;

E. Reassess the determination of significance of the residual effects on canopy warblers, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to D into account;

F. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to canopy warblers, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: TW(1)-04

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.4.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Section 4.3.8.1.1, Table 4-69;

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.5.

Context and Rationale:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4 of the EIS Guidelines requires the proponent to consider "any anticipated modification to bird and wildlife distribution, relative abundance, movements, habitat availability"

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.5.5.3 about effects on raptors states that "[…] site clearing, grubbing, and pre-stripping will reduce foraging habitat for five species out of the 12 recorded across the study area." Table 7-140 of the same Section indicates that 8 raptor species were observed in the PSA. In the absence of a map or a figure identifying areas where raptor species were observed, it is unclear why five out of the 12 recorded species were deemed to be affected by loss of foraging habitat when the total number of species observed in the PSA are reported to be 8. In addition, the Agency notes that Table 4-69 of Chapter 4, Section 4.3.8.1.1 lists 11 raptor species observed in the RSA, as opposed to 12 mentioned in the statement quoted above.

Similar to comment raised about progressive rehabilitation in TW(1)-02, under Table 7-142 the "Loss of foraging habitat for raptors" is reported to have a low duration, with a rationale that the "Effects occur during site preparation and progressive rehabilitation may be undertaken." It is unclear under what circumstances progressive rehabilitation would become necessary and occur.

This information is required in order to understand the effects on raptors which are classified as migratory birds in the EIS.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify the number of observed raptor species across the project, local, and regional study areas;

B. Provide a rationale for why all 8 of the species observed in the PSA would not be effected by loss of foraging habitat;

C. Reassess the magnitude for the "loss of foraging habitat for raptors" taking the response from Question B into account;

D. Describe the implementation of specific mitigation measures associated with progressive rehabilitation that will reduce the effects of loss of foraging habitat on raptors (if applicable);

F. Reassess the duration for the "Loss of foraging habitat for raptors" if rehabilitation measures will not be carried out progressively;

G. Reassess the significance assessment, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to E into account;

H. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to raptors, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: TW(1)-05

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(ii) Aboriginal Physical and Cultural Heritage;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.4.4.

Context and Rationale:

Moose are a species commonly hunted by the Indigenous groups surveyed. As such, Part 2, Section 6.2.6 of the EIS Guidelines requires the proponent to consider "commercial fishing, hunting, trapping, and gathering activities" with regards to Indigenous peoples.

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.4.9.1 states that "moose prefer high ridges with good sightlines for calving, a time when they are most vulnerable. The significant ridge that divides the Herman-Otto from the Spring Lovell subwatershed may provide that function where there are clearings. Comparable ridges occur within the LSA and RSA."

However the Agency notes that TSD 17, Chapter 4, and Chapter 7 of the EIS do not provide the location (and size) of these alternative ridges for moose calving habitats in the local or regional study areas.

In addition, Section 7.4.4.6.1 states: "Within the area of disturbance, site clearing, grubbing, and pre-stripping will remove 123 ha of the available moose calving area within the PSA. This represents 7% of available habitat in the PSA, and 4% and 1% of that available in the LSA and RSA, respectively." The Agency notes that these percentages seem to have been calculated with the assumption that the entire LSA and RSA are viable moose calving habitat.

These figures appear to have been used to justify a low significance for the "Removal of Moose Calving, Aquatic Feeding and Late Winter Cover Habitat" in Chapter 7, Section 7.4.4.9.1.

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.4.6.1 states: "Water withdrawal from Goudreau Lake will lower lake levels and dewater wetlands in the littoral zone of the lake, altering moose feeding areas. However, as discussed previously, water withdrawal is expected to change lake levels by 1 cm to 2 cm and would not likely be noticeable in terms of aquatic moose feeding habitat." The Agency acknowledges that dewatering of wetlands due to lowering of lake levels is taken into account; however, it is unclear whether the possible effects on the vegetation at the edge of the lake have been assessed.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide the locations (and sizes) of the alternative ridges suitable for moose calving in the local and regional study area and reassess the percentage of moose calving habitat lost in the PSA;

B. Identify waterbodies and wetlands that will be altered due to changes in lake levels, and describe the changes in moose feeding habitat, including changes in vegetation within the littoral zones in the waterbodies and wetlands;

C. Describe how the changes in moose habitat may result in dispersion of moose populations from sites preferred for hunting by Indigenous peoples;

D. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effect on the current use of moose due to the described changes in moose calving habitat;

E. Characterize residual effects, if any, on the availability of moose populations for hunting by Indigenous peoples in their preferred areas after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

F. Reassess the significance assessment, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to D into account;

G. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to Indigenous communities due to unavailability of moose for hunting at preferred sites, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: TW(1)-06

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(c)(ii) Aboriginal Physical and Cultural Heritage;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4;

Part 2, Section 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.4;

Chapter 12, Section 3.5.3.

Chapter 6, Section 6.4.1, Figure 6-5

Chapter 6, Section 6.5.5.1

Context and Rationale:

The loss and slow restoration of bald eagle foraging habitat has not been sufficiently assessed.

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.4.9.2 states "Bald Eagle foraging is an important habitat function offered by the PSA. The creation of a large waterbody over time as the open pit fills will progressively restore the habitat lost over the 20 years of construction, operation and closure."

However, Chapter 6, Section 6.5.5.1 states: "Upon cessation of mining, the pit will be allowed to fill naturally as a lake. It is expected that filling of the pit may take over fifty years." This suggests that progressive filling of the open pit is unlikely until mining has stopped. There seems to be a considerable period of time during which the bald eagle's foraging habitat within the PSA will be unavailable.

Furthermore, once progressive rehabilitation does begin, the bald eagle will be unable to use the pit lake until it contains sufficient aquatic prey. For this reason, it is unclear why the duration for the "Removal of habitat for species of special concern" is considered low in the significance assessment (Table 7-132).

Clarification with regards to the restoration of bald eagle habitat is necessary as eagles have been identified to have cultural significance for Indigenous communities in Chapter 12, Section 3.5.3.

Part 2, Section 6.2.6 of the EIS Guidelines requires the proponent to consider "commercial fishing, hunting, trapping, and gathering activities" with regards to Indigenous peoples.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Given the time period to create functional bald eagle foraging habitat, reassess the significance of effects on bald eagle habitat and of the impact to Indigenous peoples due to the cultural importance of bald eagles.

IR Number: TW(1)-07

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(2) Linked to Regulatory Permits/Authorizations

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.4.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.7.6;

Chapter 7, Table 7-156.

Context and Rationale:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4 of the EIS Guidelines requires the proponent to consider "the potential effects of the project on provincially and federally listed species at risk (flora and fauna) and their critical habitat"

The proponent notes that two, federally-listed SAR mammals - Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis - have been detected at the project site, and that destruction of critical habitat (i.e., the historical mine adit) will be unavoidable.

Table 7-156 notes that artificial habitat can be provided and that habitat restoration is possible, but details and firm commitments to do this are not provided.

Part 2, Section 6.3 of the EIS Guidelines states that the EIS will describe mitigation measures that are specific to each environmental effect identified. Measures will be written as specific commitments that clearly describe how the proponent intends to implement them. Where mitigation measures have been identified in relation to species and/or critical habitat listed under the Species at Risk Act, the mitigation measures will be consistent with any applicable recovery strategy and action plans. Furthermore, the impact statement will also present an assessment of the effectiveness of the proposed technically and economically feasible mitigation measures.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Taking into consideration Part 2, Section 6.3 of the EIS guidelines, describe the mitigation measures to prevent adverse effect on Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis due to the described change in critical habitat;

B. Reassess the characterization of the residual effects, if any, after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

C. Reassess the significance assessment taking responses from Questions A to B into account;

D. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: TW(1)-08

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.4.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Section 7.4.5.

Context and Rationale:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4 of the EIS Guidelines requires the proponent to consider "collision risk of migratory birds with any project infrastructure."

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.5, provides no information about the potential of a collision risk of migratory birds with project infrastructure, other than with vehicles.

Further information is required to fully assess the potential for adverse effects on migratory and breeding birds from collisions with any project infrastructure.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Describe the risk of collisions of migratory birds with project infrastructures other than with vehicles. If no other risks are identified, please state this and provide a rationale for the conclusion;

B. Describe mitigation measures to prevent adverse effects on migratory birds due to collision with project infrastructures;

C. Provide a complete assessment of the residual effects after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

D. Reassess the significance assessment, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to C into account;

E. Describe the follow-up program for potential effects to migratory birds, including objectives and any monitoring measures that will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures. If follow-up is not required, provide a rationale.

IR Number: TW(1)-09

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds;

5(2) Linked to Regulatory Permits/Authorizations.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 1, Section 6.2.4.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Section 4.3.10;

Chapter 11, Section 11.5.3.7;

TSD 17, Sections 3.2.3-3.2.9, 4.2.3.4;

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.7.5.2.

Context and Rationale:

Part 2, Section 6.2.4 of the EIS Guidelines requires the proponent to consider "the potential effects of the project on provincially and federally listed species at risk (flora and fauna) and their critical habitat"

Chapter 4, Section 4.3.10 states: "All Species at Risk (SAR) identified in the RSA, LSA and PSA are birds. No Species at Risk (SAR) were identified in other groups, including flora." This statement contradicts Chapter 11, Section 11.5.3.7 which indicates that two mammal species (i.e., Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis bats), both listed as Endangered under Species at Risk Act (SARA), were reported from the project area.

Furthermore, the Agency notes that a Chimney Swift was observed at the disturbed old mine site, and according to TSD 17, Section 4.2.3.4: "An effort was made to locate the nest in 2014, but no nest was found."

In addition to being a migratory bird, Chimney Swift is also listed as Threatened under SARA. Therefore, further information is required regarding the effort made to locate this nest.

Furthermore, no maps of migratory bird survey routes, locations or points were provided or referenced in TSD 17, Sections 3.2.3-3.2.9. This information is needed to confirm the efficacy of these baseline surveys.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Clarify the numbers and types of species at risk in the study areas;

B. Describe the effort made to locate the Chimney Swift nest in 2014 (i.e., methods used, locations searched, amount of effort, etc.);

C. Provide a map depicting migratory bird survey routes, locations or points within the Project and Local Study Areas, and include an overlay of proposed disturbance and/or habitat loss areas.

D. Reassess the effects, mitigation measures, residual effects, significance determination and follow-up program for migratory birds, if necessary, taking responses from Questions A to C into account.

IR Number: TW(1)-10

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds;

5(1)(c)(ii) Aboriginal Physical and Cultural Heritage;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 1, Section 6.1.7.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Sections 7.4.2.5.1, 7.4.2.8, 7.4.2.9.

Context and Rationale:

The removal of upland forest and fragmentation of pathways of connectivity are considered non-significant residual effects due to their proposed reversal by restoration. Table 7-117 of Section 7.4.2.9 lists two monitoring programs to verify the effectiveness of this restoration. However, insufficient information is provided about the restoration plan to allow confidence that it will ensure sufficient and permanent recovery of the forest cover.

This information is important as health of upland forest may relate to potential indirect effects to species of interest to Indigenous groups.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide additional information on the restoration plan for the upland forest, including for example vegetative cover goals, duration of verification, and criteria for success or failure.

IR Number: EA(1)-01a

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012: 5(2) Linked to Regulatory Permits/Authorizations.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 1, Section 1.

Reference to EIS:

Chapters 4 and 7;

Chapter 15, Section 15.1.6.

Context and Rationale:

Under subsection 5(2) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 (CEAA 2012), the environmental assessment must consider any changes to the environment that are directly linked or necessarily incidental to federal approvals, and the effects of those changes. Further, Part 1, Section 1 of the EIS Guidelines states, "the EIS must include a full description of the changes the project will cause to the environment including that changes that are directly linked or necessarily incidental to any federal decisions that would permit the project to be carried out. It is the responsibility of the proponent to provide sufficient data and analysis on any potential changes to the environment to ensure a thorough evaluation of the environmental effects of the project by the Agency".

The Agency notes the statement in Chapter 15, Section 15.1.6 that "Explosives Act, Fisheries Act Authorization and MMER Schedule 2 are not expected to have any significant environmental or socio-economic effects." Further, there is insufficient information to make a determination about the applicability of the Navigation Protection Act (NPA) (see EA(1)-01b). However, the EIS does not identify the specific changes to the environment that are directly linked or necessarily incidental to any federal decisions. It also does not identify which valued components would be affected by those changes.

The Agency was also unable to find an adequate assessment of potential effects of changes to the environment caused by the exercise of power or duty or function by federal authority, that relate to health and socio-economic conditions, physical and cultural heritage, and to any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance, other than the ones captured under paragraph 5(1)(c) of CEAA 2012.

The Agency requires this information to focus the scope of its assessment of effects to be taken into account under subsection 5(2) of CEAA 2012, including identifying the changes that are specifically linked to federal decisions, and determining valued components not already captured in section 5(1)(c) of CEAA 2012.

The Agency notes additional valued components that should be considered in this assessment:

  • Furbearers and their habitat;
  • Amphibians and their habitat;
  • Reptiles and their habitat;
  • Ungulates and their habitat;
  • Species at risk and their habitat;
  • Non-migratory birds and their habitat;
  • Human health (not limited to Indigenous people);
  • Socio-economic conditions (not limited to Indigenous people);
  • Physical and cultural heritage (not limited to Indigenous people).

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide a summary of changes to the environment that are directly linked or necessarily incidental to any federal decisions, and potential effects of those changes. This assessment should include the information listed in Questions B to H below;

B. Describe the project activities associated with each federal decision that would be required for the Project;

C. Identify those changes to the environment that are directly linked or necessarily incidental to each federal decision, including but not limited to changes to:

  • Water quality and quantity,
  • terrestrial habitat,
  • terrestrial flora and fauna,
  • non-migratory avifauna,
  • riparian habitats and wetlands, and
  • air Quality;

D. Identify potential impacts related to the changes to the environment, including effects to:

  • health and socio-economic conditions, including navigation,
  • physical and cultural heritage,
  • any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance, other than the ones captured under paragraph 5(1)(c) of CEAA 2012;

E. Given the changes to the environment and potential impacts identified in C and D, describe the potential effects to valued components, including those that may not have already been identified in the EIS to date, that are directly linked or necessarily incidental to each federal approval, including effects associated with changes to the environment;

F. Identify the mitigation measures to avoid, reduce or compensate for potential effects;

G. Characterize residual effects after the mitigation measures have been implemented;

H. Describe a follow up program, including objectives and any monitoring measures, which will be implemented to verify the predictions of effects and evaluate the effectiveness of the proposed mitigation measures, if required.

Note: Provide your answers to Questions C-H above after updating the Fish Habitat Compensation Plan as required in FFH(1)-31a and FFH(1)-31b.

IR Number: EA(1)-01b

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

5(2) Linked to Regulatory Permits/Authorizations.

5(1)(c)(i) Aboriginal Peoples Health/ socio-economic conditions;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes.

Reference to EIS guidelines:

Part 1, Section 1;

Part 2, Sections 6.1.8, 6.2.5 and 6.2.6.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, Sections 4.6.6.1.3 and 4.6.6.3.3;

Chapter 7, Section 7.5.2.5.1;

TSD 7, Fig 6-2.

Context and Rationale:

The Agency notes that specific navigation information for the waterbodies that will be affected in the Project Study Area (as per Figure 6-2 in TSD 7) is lacking in the EIS. As a result, Transport Canada is unable to make a navigability determination of the waterways and waterbodies affected by project activities. Further, the Agency is unable to make conclusions about the effects to the environment linked or incidental to a federal authorization under the Navigation Protection Act (NPA). The Agency is unaware of any intention on the part of the proponent to voluntarily opt-in to the NPA, and therefore assumes that this is not the case.

Part 2, Section 6.1.8 of the EIS Guidelines states that"the EIS will include a description of: . current use of all waterways and water bodies that will be directly affected by the project, including recreational uses, where available". Section 6.2.5 of the EIS Guidelines further states that "the assessment will include a consideration of the potential project effects on […] local socio-economics issues, including potential effects on: the use of navigable waters" and in Section 6.2.6 "with respect to Aboriginal peoples, a description of how changes to the environment caused by the project will affect: the use of navigable waters."

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.6.1.3 shows that there may be some navigation information in traditional land use studies as there are references that question navigability of headwaters and identify the Magino mine area as a "portage area." No further information is provided regarding this portage area. Additionally, Chapter 4, Section 4.6.6.3.3 makes reference to a map that shows water routes from Mountain to Otto Lakes and from Dreany to Mud Lakes. This map is not included in the EIS. Lastly, Transport Canada notes that dewatering of Webb and Lovell Lakes can trigger the NPA but more information on navigability and use of these lakes would be required to derive any conclusions.

Chapter 7, Section 7.5.2.5.1 states: "No effects on navigation of lakes and streams are anticipated, as no barriers to boating are being created." This statement is not adequately substantiated by supporting information.

Without supporting information on navigable waters, the Agency is unable to verify effects and conclusions about navigation.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Determine if the physical characteristics of the waterways and waterbodies affected by the project support carrying (i.e. floating and traversing) a vessel of any size (e.g. canoe/kayak) from one point to another;

B. Describe the historic, current and reasonably foreseeable use of the waterways and waterbodies affected by the project, as aqueous routes for navigation purposes by the Indigenous groups or the public. These could either be self-contained routes or parts of a navigation network extending beyond the boundaries of the specific waterways and waterbodies. Include maps and figures where applicable. Within this assessment, provide details about:

  • the navigability of headwaters and use of the Magino mine area as a portage area;
  • the waterway routes from Mountain to Otto Lakes and from Dreany to Mud Lakes, and;
  • Webb and Lovell Lakes;

C. Describe the potential activities associated with an NPA authorization, if applicable, that would be required for the project

D. Confirm whether or not the proponent plans to voluntarily opt-in to the NPA;

E. Answer questions C-H outlined above in EA(1)-01a as they apply to an NPA authorization.

IR Number: EA(1)-02

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(a) Accidents and Malfunctions

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.7.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 8

Context and Rationale:

The potential environmental effects of accidents and malfunction scenarios are not provided in sufficient detail in the EIS.

Section 6.2.7 of the EIS Guidelines, Effects of potential accidents or malfunctions, state that:

"…The proponent will identify […] the plausible worst case scenarios and the effects of these scenarios. This assessment will include an identification of the magnitude of an accident and/or malfunction, including the quantity, mechanism, rate, form and characteristics of contaminants and other materials likely to be released into the environment during the accident and malfunction events."

This has not been done. In Chapter 8 of the EIS, only some hazard / worst case scenarios are presented for structural failures, accidents or other malfunctions, although not in detail. The environmental effects of all the scenarios described are not presented. For example, while the TMF embankment failure is described in section 8.1.4.2 including a reference to the "Worst Case Dam Failure Assessment" in TSD 6, the potential environmental effects of this accident are only outlined in broad terms such as "resulting in serious harm to fish and fish habitat," "indirect consequences for the users of these resources," and "water quality effects could extend down to the Magpie River." Information on type of contamination, magnitude, spatial and temporal components, direct and indirect effects are not elaborated upon.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. For each of the structural failures, accidents and other malfunctions listed in Chapter 8, describe the worst case hazard scenario for each type of accident or malfunction, prior to the application of mitigation measures and emergency procedures. Include the source, quantity, mechanism, rate, form and characteristics of contaminants and other materials (e.g. sediments) likely to be released to the surrounding environment during the postulated malfunction or accident;

B. For each hazard scenario, describe the change to the receiving environment. E.g. effect on air quality, water quality, water quantity, sediment quality;

C. For each hazard scenario, describe the resulting effects to wetlands, sensitive habitats, wildlife (including SAR), fish and fish habitat, aquatic species, migratory birds, and current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes;

D. For each hazard scenario, following determination of the worst case and the effects assessment, revise the contingency and emergency response measures.

IR Number: EA(1)-03

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(b) Significance of effects

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.4

Reference to EIS: Chapter 7, Sections 7.1.2.9, 7.2.2.8 and 7.3.5.8.

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 7, Section 7.1.2.9 states that "The overall level of significance was determined through professional judgement using a reasoned argument approach, rather than a generic formula. As such, emphasis was placed on one or more of the significance criteria depending upon the VC under consideration."

Some sections had a limited discussion of the determination of significance: professional judgement and reasoned argumentation should be supported by such information sources as scientific literature, species life history traits, predicted changes in measurement indicators and experience from past EAs, monitoring programs and regional studies. This was not consistently done. For example, Section 7.3.5.8 simply repeats the effects level of the significance criteria.

Further, explanation of the weighting of the significance criteria was not consistent through all the sections. The argumentation did not allow the reader to understand how a determination of non-significance was obtained when most of the criteria were at medium or high effects level (e.g. Sections 7.2.2.8, 7.3.5.8).

A number of IRs throughout this package are likely to require a new assessment of significance of effects, including but not limited to IE(1)-03, HE(1)-19, TW(1)-01, -02, -06, and FFH(1)-23, -20, -16, -22, and -24, -28. Ensure that you consider this IR when addressing these and other IRs.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Revise the determination of significance of residual effects.

A. Provide a more detailed explanation of the weighting of the significance criteria. Where weighting of significance criteria was made using Indigenous input, make explicit what the input was and demonstrate how this input was gathered;

B. Support the discussion (reasoned argument) of the significance determination for each Valued Component using relevant information.

IR Number: EA(1)-04

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(h) Effect of the environment on the project

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 6.2.8

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 9;

TSD 6.

Context and Rationale:

In Chapter 9, in the discussion of the potential effects of flooding on the project, there is no mention of the perimeter collection ditches directing water to the water quality control pond. If the ditches are overwhelmed during a 100-year flood event, there could be a release of mine water to the environment.

Further, Technical Support Document 6, entitled "Tailings and Mine Rock Management Facility and Overburden Stockpiles - Conceptual Design Report" indicates that "the surface water drainages will be progressively constructed as the stages of the TMF embankment and MRMF are built". During this period, temporary detention ponds will be built around the facility to collect surface water runoff. It is not indicated whether these temporary structures can deal with a 100-year flood event. If the ponds are overwhelmed during a 100-year flood event, there could be a release of mine water to the environment.

This is important to the Agency to understand due to the risk of contaminating the water quality, resulting in potential effects to fish and fish habitat as well as to current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide information on the design, inspection, repair and contingency measures for the perimeter collection ditches and temporary detention ponds, and their capacity to withstand a severe weather event such as a 100-year flood;

B. If the ponds were not designed to sustain flood events, describe the potential effects of such an event on the environment.

IR Number: CE(1)-01

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(a) Cumulative Effects

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 7.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 11, Section 11.4.3.1.2.2.

Context and Rationale:

It is stated in Chapter 11, Section 11.4.3.1.2.2: "No significant adverse effects on the Traditional Use of Lands and Resources (hunting, fishing, trapping, or gathering) in the PSA, LSA or RSA were identified for the Magino Project." The EIS recognizes that traditional land use is likely to be impacted by future activities, but relies on an assumption that "…proponents of […] future activities are expected to continue to engage with Aboriginal groups to avoid significant effects on VCs of Aboriginal Interest." Based on those points, the cumulative effects assessment does not carry forward any effects related to Indigenous Interests and Traditional Use of Land and Resources.

The Agency is unclear about how the conclusion of no significant residual effect from the Magino Project was reached. IE(1)-02 and IE(1)-03 indicate that the assessment of effects of changes to the environment on Aboriginal peoples' socio-economic conditions, on the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, and on the physical and cultural heritage, and any structure, site or thing of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples must be provided. This assessment must also be considered as part of the cumulative effects assessment.

The Agency is also unclear about how the expectation of future engagement activities resulted in a conclusion of no impacts to traditional land use from future activities in the absence of an assessment thereof. This assessment should be considered as part of the cumulative effects assessment.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Revise the cumulative effects assessment considering the revised effects assessment resulting from IE(1)-02 and IE(1)-03. Include a VC for Aboriginal Interests and Traditional Use of Land and Resources if appropriate;

B. Revise the cumulative effects assessment considering an assessment of the impacts to traditional land use from future activities.

IR Number: CE(1)-02

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(a) Cumulative Effects

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 7.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 11, Section 11.4.4.2.7.

Context and Rationale:

A pre-screening of potential interactions between current activities and the Magino Project to determine which of these activities should be carried forward for cumulative effects assessment was based on relevance criteria listed in Chapter 7, Section 11.4.4.2.7, Table 11-10 and reported in Tables 11-11 to 11-14. However, this pre-screening was not described in text form, or sufficiently supported by a rationale such as to understand the use of these criteria and any additional information. A clear pre-screening allows an understanding of where residual effects may occur from each activity, helping to scope the analysis of the cumulative effects assessment.

For example, four physical and biological VCs described in Table 11-10 were reported in a single criterion level (called VEC) in pre-screening Tables 11-11 to 11-14 with no explanation provided for their summarization.

Additionally, the ranking levels of the relevance criteria were used inconsistently to screen activities in or out. Some activities with the combination of "relevant+possible" rankings were included while others were not.

Finally, it appears that other criteria were used for pre-screening in addition to those used in the selection tables. They appear in the text and in footnotes but are not clearly indicated as selection criteria, nor is it clear how they were applied. The overriding selection criterion for inclusion of an activity may have been its location within the 100-km RSA of the Magino Project. However, for example, in the case of existing active mineral exploration, while all activities were within the 100-km2 RSA, they were all scoped out due to a footnote about size and duration of activity.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Revise the pre-screening of potential interactions between current activities and the Magino Project. Use all relevance criteria in a clear and consistent manner for the pre-screening of all current activities;

B. Provide a rationale for the pre-screening, supporting the use of the relevance criteria and any supporting information for each activity (or activity category as applicable);

C. Include in the analysis of the cumulative effects assessment those activities that are screened in as a result of the revised pre-screening.

IR Number: CE(1)-03

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(a) Cumulative Effects

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 7.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 11, Section 11.5.1.2.

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 11, Section 11.5.1.2 states that "As there is no expansion of the Island Gold Mine for the foreseeable future, additional residual effects on atmospheric, physical and biological VCs are not expected."

However, Technical Report NI 43-101 titled "Island Gold Mine Expansion Case PEA" (Richmont Mines Inc., May 29, 2017) suggests that an expansion of Island Gold mine is foreseeable.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Revise the assessment of cumulative effects to consider additional residual effects on atmospheric, physical and biological VCs from an expansion of Island Gold Mine, or provide a rationale for its exclusion.

IR Number: CE(1)-04

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(a) Cumulative Effects

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 7.

Reference to EIS: Chapter 11, Section 11.5.1.2.

Context and Rationale:

Chapter 11, Section 11.5.1.2 states that "The Wesdome Mines Gold operation are too distant to have any measurable cumulative effects on the atmospheric, physical and biological VCs retained for the cumulative effects assessment." However, the Wesdome Mines Gold operations Eagle River and Mishi are 80 km and 75 km respectively from the Magino Project, thus within the 100 km RSA of the Magino Project. In Table 11-10 "Relevance Criteria for the Potential Additive and Synergetic Cumulative Effects for Current and Future Activities", the rationale for all biological VCs is that loss of habitat, one of the primary causes of effects on biological VCs, is additive within the RSA. Therefore, the Agency is unclear about why Wesdome Mines Gold operations were excluded as they could be potential sources of cumulative effects for biological cumulative effects.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

A. Provide rationale to explain how VC-specific spatial boundaries do or do not encompass the effects from other physical activities that are being or will be carried out;

B. Include a map that illustrates the position of current and future activities relevant for cumulative effects relative to the VC-specific spatial boundaries.

IR Number: CE(1)-05

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(a) Cumulative Effects

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 7.

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 11, Sections 11.5.4.2.4.3,

11.5.4.2.5. 3.

Context and Rationale:

For both significant wildlife habitat and migratory and breeding birds, no description of past and current activities was provided other than a very limited (and inaccurate) one of the Magpie Forest Management Units. No analysis of the effects of past and current activities was presented other than the statement in the EIS that "Effects of past and current activities have been considered with the assessment of significance of residual effects for the Magino Project."

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide a complete description of residual effects of past, current and future activities identified to be carried through from the pre-screening.

IR Number: CE(1)-06

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:19(1)(a) Cumulative Effects

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 7

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 11, Sections 11.5.4.2.2.4, 11.5.4.2.4.4,

11.5.4.2.5. 4,

Context and Rationale:

In Chapter 11, Section 11.5.4.2, in Tables 11-29, 11-37 and 11-44, residual effects from the Magino Project had higher effects level for some significance criteria than did the same residual effects in the cumulative assessment. At a minimum, additive effects must result in equal effects levels or would increase. A decrease in effects level would have to be accompanied by an explanation of the additive effect of an adverse and a positive impact on the same VC indicator. However, no detailed rationale for the significance determination was provided.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide a detailed rationale for the significance determination of the cumulative effects for each residual effect in each VC.

IR Number: CE(1)-07

Project Effects Link to CEAA 2012:

19(1)(a) Cumulative Effects

5(1)(a)(iii) Migratory Birds;

5(1)(c)(ii) Aboriginal Physical and Cultural Heritage;

5(1)(c)(iii) Current Use of Lands and Resources for traditional purposes.

Reference to EIS guidelines: Part 2, Section 7

Reference to EIS: Chapter 11, Sections 11.5.4.2.2.

Context and Rationale:

There is insufficient analysis of terrestrial vegetation effects; the disturbances by forestry operations, infrastructure and access, and past, current and potential future mining operations are acknowledged, but there is no analysis presented of their cumulative effect with respect to forest fragmentation and reduced forest cover.

This information is important as it relates to potential indirect effects to species of interest to Indigenous groups.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide an assessment of cumulative effects resulting from forest fragmentation and reduction of forest cover due to past, current and future activities in the PSA, LSA and RSA.

Annex 2 - Companion Sheet to the Information Requirements for the Magino Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement- Indigenous Matters

(PDF - 146 KB)

The Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines (EISG) directed the proponent to undertake an assessment of the following:

  • effects of changes to the environment on Aboriginal peoples including:
    • health and socio-economic conditions;
    • current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes;
    • physical and cultural heritage;
    • any structure, site, or thing that is of historical, archaeological or paleontological significance.
  • potential impacts on Aboriginal and Treaty rights

The Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) has provided a number of Information Requirements (IRs) (see Annex 1, IRs IE(1)-01 to IE(1)-06) pertaining to these requirements of the EISG based on our review of the Magino Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement as deficiencies were found. Assessments for all of the above components were lacking in the inclusion of baseline information (including Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge), a methodology and rationale, mitigation measures and follow-up and monitoring programs. Additionally, there were deficiencies in the description of Aboriginal engagement in particular the issues and concerns Indigenous groups raised and the Proponent's responses to these concerns (see Annex 1, IRs IE(1)-07 and IE(1)-08).

The Agency expects that the response to IRs IE(1)-02 to IE(1)-06 be provided as a single cohesive document with updated assessments to the components outlined above. The responses to IRs IE(1)-07 and IE(1)-08 should also be provided as a single document. Ensure that any changes to assessments of other environmental components resulting from responses to Annex 1 IRs be considered when responding to IRs on effects to Indigenous Peoples, as necessary.

IRs IE(1)-01 to IE(1)-08 in Annex 1 would, if addressed adequately, meet the requirements of the EISG. However, in conducting its review of the Magino Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement, the Agency noted specific gaps, inconsistencies or oversights. As such, this annex is being provided as a companion sheet to IRs IE (1)-01 to IE (1)-08 to ensure that these matters are not overlooked. As part of your response to IRs IE(1)-01 and IE(1)-08, address the following gaps, inconsistencies or oversights:

Comment Number: IE(1)-B01

EIS Reference:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.6.1.3;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.3.5.2.

Context:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.6.1.3, identifies trails that go from Mountain Lake to Herman Lake, and from Goudreau Lake to Pine Lake. Chapter 7, Section 7.7.3.5.2, describes potential effects to trails without having complete information about the use of the trails. The baseline data seems to be incomplete. If it is unclear what the trails are used for, and if they are still currently used, efforts should be made to determine the use of the trails described. These efforts must be documented and shared with the Agency.

If the trails are used for recreational or traditional activities, these should be described and the effects assessed. For example, if these trails are used as part of activities that make use of the lakes, then potential effects to the use of Otto and Herman Lakes need to be understood. In particular, the effects to water quality and sediment chemistry at Otto and Herman Lakes, which could then have effects to Fish and Fish Habitat, need to be understood. Further, these effects, be they measurable or perceived, may have effects on the activities practiced by Indigenous people and as such should be described and included in the assessment.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide more detail about the use of the trails and associated activities;

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number:IE(1)-B02

EIS Reference:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.

Context:

A footnote 21 of Chapter 7, Section 7.7.3.5.1, page 7.416, indicates that Missanabie Cree First Nation identified a cultural site south of Spring and Lovell Lakes in the Local Study Area. This differs from the information given in Chapter 4, Section 4.6.6.2, indicating a cultural site from the Missanabie Cree First Nation Traditional Knowledge study between Spring Lake and Goudreau Lake. Further, the proponent notes that clarification on the location and nature of this site is needed.

No description of the effect to the cultural site, if separate from the historic cemetery, was provided in section 7.7.3.5.1 of the EIS. The Agency understands that there may not be clarity as to the location of this cultural site. However, in recognition of the application of the precautionary approach (as stated in Part 1 section 2.4 of the EIS Guidelines), the proponent should consider the effects to this cultural site separately from the effects to the Goudreau cemetery.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide documentation of the response from Missanabie Cree First Nation clarifying the location and nature of the cultural site. Include the information from this response in the baseline information for Aboriginal cultural sites and activities and avoid introducing new contradictory baseline information in the effects assessment;

B. Using complete baseline information, provide a clear description of the effects of the Project on this cultural site, separate from the Goudreau cemetery;

C. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B03

EIS Reference:

Chapter 3;

Chapter 4;

Chapter 10;

TSD 14 and 18;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.2, Table 7.7.2-2;

Chapter 12.

Context:

Chapter 4, Section 4.2.7.1.2 states that no groundwater drinking water supply wells are present in the Local Study Area (LSA), Project Study Area (PSA) or Regional Study Area (RSA). The baseline characterization of groundwater quality is focused exclusively on the PSA. The statement that groundwater isn't used for drinking water "in the area" lacks precision and is not justified.

Chapter 3, Section 3.3.2 indicates that no private water supply wells are present in the watersheds that host the Project. However, there is no explicit discussion of Indigenous drinking water sources in these chapters. Drinking water could also be sourced from surface waters accessed by Indigenous groups during the practice of current uses.

Chapter 7.7.2.2 (p 7.395) indicates that "there were no drinking water sources identified by Aboriginal people within the PSA, LSA or RSA." Missanabie Cree First Nation provided information in their Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) Report about natural springs that are drinking water sources for the community (Addendum A5, p. 319). Specific springs used for drinking water sources were identified as Maskinonge Lake, End Lake, Justin Lake, and Trout Lake. Maskinonge Lake, according to Figure 7.7.2-2, is inside of the RSA. As this lake has been identified as a source of drinking water, this contradicts the sentence in the main text of the EIS stating that there is no Indigenous drinking water source located in the PSA, LSA or RSA.

Further, the only reference to drinking water use of downstream sources is in the monitoring section of surface water hydrology effects assessment.

The EIS should not contain contradictory information and should accurately describe the locations of drinking water sources used by Indigenous peoples based on the information received through engagement, including the information retrieved through Indigenous Traditional Knowledge Studies.

In order to understand potential effects to drinking water sources, the Agency requires more information about the use of surface waters as drinking water sources, and the efforts made by the proponent to gather that information.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Identify sources used for drinking water at the cabin/cottage receptors and in Dubreuilville;

B. Provide accurate baseline information of drinking water sources (surface and ground) used by Indigenous peoples that are affected by the Project, including that found in the Missanabie Cree First Nation's Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) report;

C. If no drinking water sources were identified by Indigenous groups in the Local Study Area and Project Study Area, demonstrate how this was confirmed through engagement activities;

D. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B04

EIS Reference:

Chapter 12, Table 12-1;

Chapter 4, Section 4.4.5.1.1;

Chapter 4 Section 4.6;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.

Context:

Chapter 12, Table 12-1 describes a comment from Michipicoten First Nation, which refers to recreational cabins potentially affected by the Project. Prodigy identifies cabins located at Goudreau and Herman Lakes in its response. It is unclear whether these cabins are used by Michipicoten First Nation or by another Indigenous community for recreational or traditional purposes.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Clarify the nature of the use of the cabins at Goudreau and Herman Lakes including who uses them and for what purpose;

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B05

EIS Reference:

Chapter 3, Section 3.3.4;

Chapter 4, Section 4.4.5;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.

Context:

Recreational activities are described in Chapters 3 and 4 for local non-Indigenous communities, but there is no description of recreational land use by Indigenous peoples or a rationale provided for excluding this information.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Clarify if recreational activities described extend to Indigenous peoples;

B. If recreational activities were identified, specify the activity, the Indigenous group(s) and the location;

C. If no recreational activities were identified by an Indigenous group, or if there is uncertainty in their identification, demonstrate how this was confirmed through engagement activities;

D. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B06

EIS Reference:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5;

Table 4.3.5-3.

Context:

Chapter 4, Table 4-61 provides a "List of Medicinal and Cultural Species of Importance for Indigenous Communities" that is just over one page long. Section 4.6.5 identifies the gathering activities of each specific group, and specifies plant species that are important to some groups (Michipicoten First Nation, Missanabie Cree First Nation, and Metis Nation of Ontario). Some plant species included in Section 4.6.5 were not included in Table 4-61.3.5-3 (and vice-versa).

For example:

  • Some of the species identified in the Michipicoten First Nation Traditional Land Use study, as summarized in Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5.1, include sage, tamarack, yarrow, Hemlock and Labrador Tea. These species, among others, were not included in Chapter 4, Table 4-61.
  • Species identified in Chapter 4, Table 4-61, including Starflower, Skunk Current, Rose Twisted Stack, Solomon's Seal, are not included in Section 4.6.5, and do not seem to have been identified specifically by any of the Indigenous groups in their traditional knowledge studies.

For the species listed in Chapter 4, Table 4-61, it is not evident which species are important to which group, and where these species are harvested in and around the project area (Project Study Area/Local Study Area/Regional Study Area and beyond).

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Add to Table 4-61, which plant species are important to which Indigenous groups. Clarify in Table 4-61 or in Section 4.6.5, where the plant species are harvested (Project Study Area/Local Study Area/Regional Study Area and beyond). Documentation should be provided separately for each group, while respecting the confidentiality of certain information;

B. Ensure Table 4-61 matches the Indigenous group information in Section 4.6.5, or provide an explanation for the apparent contradiction, including documentation of the efforts made to obtain the information from Indigenous groups;

C. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B07

EIS Reference:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.5.1.3;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.5;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.6;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.7;

Table 7.4.6-8.

Context:

There are a number of areas in the Environmental Impact Statement where the assessment of effects to Indigenous land use is incomplete.

For example:

  • Chapter 4, Section 4.6 and Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.5.1.3 of the EIS indicate that several Indigenous groups "reported that the Project Study Area (PSA) and Local Study Area (LSA) are used/were likely used currently or historically for trapping activities." The loss of these potential trapping areas in the PSA/LSA is not carried forward to an effects assessment in Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2. The proponent does note that the trapline area WA046, which overlaps the RSA and is operated by a Missanabie Cree First Nations Elder, will not be impacted by project activity.
  • Furbearers have been identified by Indigenous groups (Metis Nation of Ontario, Missanabie Cree First Nation) as important trapping and hunting species (Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5). The removal of beaver lodges and furbearer habitat, and the increase in mammal-vehicular collisions, as identified in Chapter 7, Table 7-150 and 7-234, may have an effect on Indigenous trapping activities in and around the RSA. However, the analysis of effects to Indigenous trapping activities does not include the loss of these trapping resources.
  • Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5 indicates that Indigenous groups currently and/or historically conduct harvesting activities in the proposed project area (Metis Nation of Ontario, Missanabie Cree First Nation). However the loss of these potential harvesting sites in the project area was not carried forward to an effects assessment in Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.
  • Chapter 4, Section 4.6.6.1.3 and Chapter 7, Section 7.7.3.5.2.1 states that "the Magino mine area is a "portage area" which may indicate that Michipicoten First Nation members crossed back over the height of the land regularly, rather than reference to a specific route." Portions of this area are indicated to be possibly lost as a result of project development; however, the loss of this area is not carried forward to an effects assessment in Chapter 7.

While there may not be clarity as to whether or not the Indigenous land use activities are occurring currently, the Agency's Technical Guidance for assessing the Current Use of Lands and Resources for Traditional Purposes under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, states that current use "includes … uses that are likely to occur in a reasonably foreseeable future," and that "uses that may have ceased due to external factors should also be considered if they can reasonably be expected to resume once conditions change."

Furthermore, in keeping with the application of the precautionary approach, as required in Part 1, Section 2.4 of the EIS Guidelines, the proponent should assume that the loss of potential land use areas may still affect Indigenous groups. This effect should be carried through to the identification of mitigation measures, residual effects and significance.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide clarification and where necessary further information on these discrepancies;

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B08

EIS Reference:

Chapter 4, 4.6.4.4;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.5.1.2;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.5.1.3;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.5.1.4.

Context:

Chapter 4.6.4.4 mentions some of the commercial activities for some Indigenous groups.

The summary of Indigenous fishing activities mentions that no commercial fisheries were reported in any of the traditional knowledge studies received (7.7.2.5.1.2.). It is unclear whether this information was validated with the groups providing this information. For example, fish weirs were identified by Missanabie Cree First Nation between Goudreau, Pine and Bearpaw Lakes. No information was presented about whether they are for commercial or traditional use, and the EIS states that it is uncertain if the weirs are still being used.

With respect to commercial trapping activities, the summary of Indigenous trapping activities mentioned that an MCFN Elder and Trapper has a trapline area (WA046) located to the east of the Project (7.7.2.5.1.3).There is no mention of commercial hunting or outfitting.

Part 2, Section 6.2.6 of the EIS guidelines require Prodigy to, with respect to Indigenous peoples, "describe how changes to the environment caused by the project will affect commercial fishing, hunting, trapping and gathering activities".

Chapter 7, Table 7.7.1-2 indicates that the "Aboriginal Business Activity" indicator includes the assessment of Indigenous commercial use of lands and resources. The effects assessment that follows in section 7.7.1.5.4 does not mention any Indigenous commercial land use. Rather, it focuses on the benefits to Indigenous business opportunities. The EIS is lacking in its effects assessment on Indigenous commercial land use activities.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide clarification and additional detail about Indigenous commercial harvesting activities. Demonstrate what effort was made to gather this information (e.g.: letters, emails, meeting minutes, presentations);

B. Clarify if there are other Indigenous commercial land use activities than the ones currently described. Provide a description of these activities if they are occurring;

C. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B09

EIS Reference:

Chapter 7, Section 7.6.1.5.5;

Chapter 7, Section 7.6.1.6;

Chapter 7, Section 7.6.1.7.

Context:

A cabin was identified by Michipicoten First Nation, and described in Chapter 4 as a "home base" for trapline area WA-047 just North of the Project Area (section 4.6.6.1.3). Chapter 7, Section 7.5.2.5.1 indicates that "none of. [the cabin owners in the LSA] has been identified as Aboriginal". The effects to this cabin are described in section in table 7.6.1-4.

Although this trapline area (WA-047) is no longer operated by a member of Michipicoten First Nation, it is unclear whether the cabin is still in use by Indigenous people. Given that this cabin was identified in Michipicoten First Nation's traditional land use study, Indigenous use may still be occurring.

The Agency understands that the information in the traditional land use study may not be clear about whether this cabin is used currently or not by Indigenous groups. However, in recognition of the application of the precautionary approach, as stated in Part 1 section 2.4 of the EIS Guidelines, Prodigy should assume that the cabin is currently used and carry forward with the identification of mitigation measures and residual effects after applying the mitigation.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide additional detail about the use of the cabin identified by Michipicoten First Nation. Demonstrate what effort was made to gather this information (e.g.: letters, emails, meeting minutes, presentations);

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B10

EIS Reference:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5;

Chapter 7, Section 7.2.5.1;

Chapter 7, Section 7.2.5.4.1.

Context:

Within Chapter 4 there is no mention of any Aboriginal groups using Dreany Lake or Mountain lake for fishing activities.

However, in Chapter 7.7.2.5.1 (Summary of Aboriginal Fishing Uses), the EIS states "Mountain Lake (approximately 1 km north of the Project, in the RSA) is also used by MCFN and MNO members; it is known for its trout fishing. MNO also indicated a fish harvesting area at Dreany Lake in the RSA (approximately 2 km north of the Project)".

The information in Chapter 7 contradicts the baseline information in Chapter 4, and is confusing for a technical reviewer focused on the particular VC.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide clarification on the use of Dreany Lake and Mountain Lake for fishing including who uses it, timing of usage and what species;

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B11

EIS Reference:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5;

Chapter 7, Section 7.2.5.1;

Chapter 7, Section 7.2.5.4.1.

Context:

The list of potential effects to Indigenous fishing on page 7.407 indicated that "the TKS/TLUS and other reports indicate that. [Webb and Lovell lakes]. are not as highly valued as other areas where traditional fishing occurs". This implies that Indigenous groups may be using these areas for fishing activities. However, page 7.407 of Chapter 7.7.2.5.2 also indicates that "Lovell lake was not identified for traditional uses in the TKS/TLUS and other reports).

In Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5.2.2, page 4.350, there is mention of fish species in Webb and Lovell Lake (MCFN TEK). It is unclear from the description/summary of the MCFN TEK whether or not Lovell Lake is included in the areas where MCFN members currently fish. For example, MCFN identified "Northern Pike and Walleye on the project site and immediately east – at Webb, Lovell and Goudreau Lakes" (Chapter 4.6.5.2.2). This section then references a map from MCFN's TEK Report that points to where MCFN members currently catch fish to eat. It is unclear from this description if Webb, Lovell and Goudreau Lakes are used by Indigenous groups for fishing activities.

With respect to Indigenous land use, "no fishing activity" in an area is different from an area that is "not as highly valued"; please provide clarification on the Aboriginal use of Webb Lake and Lovell Lake.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide clarification on the use of Webb Lake, Lovell Lake and Goudreau Lake for fishing including who uses it, timing of usage and what species;

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B12

EIS Reference: Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.4.

Context:

Table 7-142 and 7-232 (significance of residual effects on migratory birds and breeding birds) mentions there is a potential for the loss of foraging and staging habitat for waterfowl.

Section 7.7.2.4 indicates that the assessment of potential effects on Traditional Use of lands and Resources considers the results from the assessment of the Biological Environment, (i.e. Mammals – Section 7.4.6 etc.) among other disciplines.

The effects assessment on Indigenous hunting activities states that "with respect to waterfowl, there is no significant habitat on-site." (p7.407). Table 7.4.5-6 indicates that 72ha of waterfowl habitat will be removed. There is no indication in Chapter 7.4.5 that waterfowl habitat in the RSA and/or the 72ha lost in the PSA is "significant" or "not significant" waterfowl habitat. It is not clear if there is an effect on Indigenous peoples' use and Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide clarification on the use of waterfowl by Indigenous peoples including the specific Indigenous group(s) who use it, timing of usage and what species as well as the effects to waterfowl and its use;

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B13

EIS Reference:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5;

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.5.

Context:

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5, of the Environmental Impact Statement indicates that Indigenous groups conduct harvesting activities in the proposed project area and around the project area.

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.5 describes the "removal of forest during site preparation and construction", implying that this project activity will affect Indigenous gathering activities. It is unclear in the effects assessment in Section 7.7.2.5 which plant species of interest are lost, and which groups are potentially affected.

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.5.1.4 indicates that the medicinal and edible plants identified in the Project Study Area by the Metis Nation of Ontario (MNO) are not "…regionally rare or unusual", while Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5 indicates that the plants identified by the MNO are "likely . not unique to the project site."

There is no indication in Chapter 7, or in the terrestrial ecology baseline technical supporting document (TSD 17) that a study was conducted on the spatial availability of these specific species, and there is no indication in Chapter 12 that any Indigenous groups indicated that the species were common in a regional context. There is no indication as to how the conclusion about species being common regionally was reached. Furthermore, clarification is needed on whether the plant species of interest are common regionally in relation to all Indigenous groups.

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide additional information to substantiate the assumptions related to the abundance and regional distribution of medicinal and edible plants identified by Indigenous groups;

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Comment Number: IE(1)-B14

EIS Reference:

Chapter 7;

Table 7-150;

Table 7-234.

Context:

Chapter 7, Tables 7-150 and 7-234 (significance of residual effects on mammals) identify the following effects to mammals:

  • the removal of beaver lodges and furbearer habitat due to draining of wetlands and waterbodies;
  • the removal of black bear berry foraging area;
  • increased mammal-vehicular collisions; and,
  • Increased exposure of mammals to contaminants in water quality ponds.

Chapter 7, Section 7.7.2.4 indicates that the assessment of potential effects on Traditional Use of lands and Resources considers the results from the assessment of the Biological Environment. The effect of the Project on Indigenous trapping activities and resources was not characterized in accordance with this description in section 7.7.2.4.

Furbearers and beavers have been identified by Indigenous groups as important trapping and hunting species in Chapter 4, Section 4.6.5. The "removal of beaver lodges and furbearer habitat" is not carried forward to an assessment of effects on Indigenous trapping and hunting activities.

Black bears are hunted in and/or around the Magino area by MNO, and possibly by MCFN and MFN (EIS 4.6.5). Loss of black bear berry gathering habitat may displace black bears and change hunting practices. It is not clear if this environmental effect is considered in the current use of lands and resources assessment.

Furthermore, increased mammal-vehicular collisions and the increased exposure of mammals to contaminants in water quality ponds may contribute to a reduction in resources for Indigenous hunting activities. This was also not mentioned as a potential effect in current use of lands and resources assessment (See Chapter 7.7.2.5.2).

Comment/Issue to be Resolved:

A. Provide clarification and where necessary further information on these discrepancies;

B. Where appropriate:

  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessments for the effects of changes to the environment on socio-economic conditions, current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes, physical and cultural heritage and any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance by Aboriginal peoples.
  • Incorporate this baseline information into the assessment of impacts of the Project on Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Companion Sheet to the Information Requirements for the Magino Gold Project Environmental Impact Statement – Table 2

The Environmental Impact Statement Guidelines (EISg) directed the proponent to engage with the Indigenous groups. Below is a template to assist in the development of the response to IR IE(1)-07 and IE(1)-08 related to Indigenous engagement.

Reference Number

Date of Engagement

Indigenous Group

Type of Engagement and Topic

Main Topic of Issue(s) Raised (intended to be succinct to help sort like issues)

Summary of Issue(s) Raised

Proponent Response / Follow-up

Annex 3 - Advice to the Proponent

(PDF - 153 KB)

Annex 3 contains advice to the proponent from government reviewers. These comments may include guidance or standard advice related to the federal and provincial regulatory processes, supplementary actions for consideration, and editorial comments on the EIS. These comments may be useful in answering some of the Annex 1 IRs, while others may need to be addressed during the federal and provincial regulatory processes, as appropriate.

Advice Number: AP-1

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 4, IRC7 Table 4-2, 4-3.

Context and Rationale:

To prevent delays in the regulatory phase.

Advice to the Proponent:

McVeigh Creek Realignment will fall under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulation process, and not the Fisheries Act Authorization process.

Advice Number: AP-2

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.1.6; TSD 20.

Context and Rationale:

To provide context before the completion of a fish habitat compensation/offsetting plan; to prevent delays in the regulatory phase.

Advice to the Proponent:

DFO does not consider closure plans to be appropriate offsetting in most major projects due to the duration of the time lag and uncertainty associated with the plans.

Advice Number: AP-3

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.1; TSD 20.

Context and Rationale:

To provide context before the completion of a fish habitat compensation/offsetting plan; to prevent delays in the regulatory phase.

Advice to the Proponent:

The compensation/offsetting plan requires robust, scientific monitoring with defined, measurable determinants of success. The statistical power of the monitoring design should be determined up front; you may find that in order to have adequate statistical power, additional baseline fisheries field data will need to be collected. Note that utilizing both before/after and control/impact comparisons to determine success is preferred and should only be dismissed in contexts where it is not feasible. Methodology of data collection prior to impacts should reflect the methodologies that are intended to be used to determine success of offsetting measures.

Useful resources: "Assessing the Effectiveness of Habitat Offset Activities in Canada: Monitoring Design Metrics" (Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3132, 2015), and "Science Advice on Offsetting Techniques for Managing the Productivity of Freshwater Fisheries" (Canadian Science Advisory Secretariat, 2013).

Advice Number: AP-4

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.5.5.1.2, Page 7.135

Context and Rationale:

Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for prohibition against deposition of deleterious substance in fish frequented waters. DFO is raising this as an issue to support any questions that ECCC may have on the topic.

Advice to the Proponent:

DFO questions the plan to discharge historical mine tailings into Spring Lake because there is indication that the tailings may instead be discharged into the TMF or reprocessed. If either of these options are possible, it seems like an unnecessary risk to discharge into the Spring Lake system, which will already be severely impacted by reduced flow rates and realignment.

Advice Number: AP-5

Reference to EIS:

TSD 5.

Context and Rationale:

As part of the project, a number of water bodies frequented by fish are proposed to be overprinted by mine waste, including tailings, waste rock, overburden and effluent. Using such water bodies for mine waste disposal requires an amendment to Schedule 2 of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations (MMER). In order to proceed with the amendment, the proponent must conduct an assessment of alternatives for all mine waste infrastructure that will overprint fish frequented waters. It is strongly recommended that this work be done in accordance with ECCC's Guidelines for the Assessment of Alternatives for Mine Waste Disposal (Guidelines). The proponent has included their assessment of alternatives for mine waste management in Technical Support Document 5 of the EIS.

Advice to the Proponent:

ECCC reviewed the assessment of alternatives against the Guidelines and has substantive comments, an overview of which is provided below.

The scope of the assessment is incomplete because it only includes alternatives for tailings management. An alternatives assessment will also be required for all mine waste infrastructure, including waste rock, overburden, and effluent treatment ponds.

The current assessment does not follow the step-by-step approach outlined in the ECCC Guidelines, which we would strongly recommend should occur. Another shortcoming of the assessment is that the analysis is not adequately documented or justified.

ECCC's detailed comments on the assessment of alternatives will be provided directly to the proponent within the next few weeks, and this commentary will need to be addressed before ECCC can proceed with the regulatory amendment process.

Advice Number: AP-6

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 5.2;

TSD 20-11, Section 3.0.

Context and Rationale:

Compliance with applicable codes of practice will help to ensure that air emissions are reduced throughout all phases of the project.

Advice to the Proponent:

ECCC recommends that the Proponent incorporate the following guidance and code of practice into the Air Quality Management Plan for air quality and GHG emissions during all phases of the project:

- Management practices for reducing GHGs and emissions from mine fleet equipment presented in ECCC's Environmental Code of Practice for Metal Mines (2009) http://www.ec.gc.ca/lcpe-cepa/default.asp?lang=En&n=CBE3CD59-1

- ECCC's guidance document, "Best Practices for the Reduction of Air Emissions from Construction and Demolition Activities" (ChemInfo, 2005). This document is available on request.

Advice Number: AP-7

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 6, Section 6.5.3.7.6.

Context and Rationale:

In this section it is stated that water quantities and quality will be monitored in accordance with the regulatory requirements of Ontario's Municipal Industrial Strategy for Abatement (MISA) regulation. No mention of the Federal MMER is made.

Advice to the Proponent:

When becoming subject to the MMER, effluent, surface drainage and seepage must be collected, the flow measured, and the quality monitored in accordance with the MMER.

Advice Number: AP-8

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.5.1.2.

Context and Rationale:

Water from the historic tailings pond and polishing pond will be discharged to Lovell Lake.

Advice to the Proponent:

Dewatering of the historic TMF and polishing pond will require the establishment of a final discharge point to Lovell Lake in accordance with the MMER.

Advice Number: AP-9

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.5.1.4.

Context and Rationale:

After closure, surface runoff from the TMF deck will be directed to Water Body 8.

Advice to the Proponent:

If the mine has not sought recognized closed mine status under the MMER at this point in time, then the discharge of effluent from the TMF deck to Water Body 8 would require a new final discharge point in accordance with the MMER.

Advice Number: AP-10

Reference to EIS:

TSD 15 Addendum

Context and Rationale:

The additional water quality, sediment quality and benthic monitoring that the proponent undertook were very informative. Looking at the results, it is clear that the sediments in the reference lakes (Dreany Lake and Mountain Lake) had higher metal concentration LEL values than the exposure lakes. Otto Lake is smaller and much shallower than the reference lakes, and its benthos and sediments seem to be different (e.g. flocculent texture). For environmental effects monitoring (EEM), the proponent might want to use reference areas that are more comparable. However, if the current reference lake(s) are kept, then a before-after, control-impact (BACI) approach should be used.

Advice to the Proponent:

Confirm that the reference lakes are appropriate for the EEM. If the current reference lakes are kept, commit to use a BACI approach.

Advice Number: AP-11

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.2.1, Table 7-51;

Section 7.3.4.1, Table 7-69

Context and Rationale:

The only standard referenced for the protection of human health is the Ontario Drinking Water Quality Objectives. If the Canadian guidelines are not applicable to the assessment, a rationale should be provided. Note that CDWQG are more restrictive than the criteria chosen for the following parameters: nitrate, antimony, lead.

Advice to the Proponent:

Include Canadian Drinking Water Quality Guidelines (CDWQG) and Canadian Recreational Water Quality Guidelines (CRWQG).

Health Canada's 2017 Guidance for Evaluating Human Health Impacts in EA: Drinking and Recreational Water Quality is also available for reference.

Advice Number: AP-12

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.3.

Context and Rationale:

The bioavailability adjustments and relative absorption factors are not complete for arsenic.

Advice to the Proponent:

The in vitro bioaccessibility study for deriving the soil oral RAF (0.5) for arsenic should be referenced. Otherwise, a default value of 0.6 may be selected based on EPA recommendations (US EPA. Recommendations for Default Value for Relative Bioavailability of Arsenic in Soil. OSWER 9200.1-113. December 2012).

Advice Number: AP-13

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7 and Attachment 6

Context and Rationale:

As per Section 2.5 of Health Canada's PQRA Guidance (2012), examples of worked calculations should be included as part of the report, not only as a way to review the accuracy of the calculations provided but also to provide transparency and allow for reproducibility of the presented results.

Advice to the Proponent:

It is recommended that at least one sample calculation for each equation be provided so that the reviewer can determine whether results appearing in Tables provided in Section 7 and Attachment 6 have been calculated according to the guidance.

Advice Number: AP-14

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 3.5.2.

Context and Rationale:

Revised text reads; "significant effect can only occur if concentrations of an indicator compound is measured above the criteria set out by regulators is on a frequent basis at a location where people are expected to be."

This statement is misleading as some of the air contaminants identified with exceedances (e.g. PM2. 5) are considered non-threshold substances, meaning that health effects may occur at any level of exposure.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Include a footnote that some air contaminants identified with exceedances (e.g. PM2. 5, PM1 0 and NO2) may have health effects at any level of exposure and will be carried through to the HHRA assessment. In addition, include a discussion of CAAQS principles of Keeping Clean Areas Clean and Continuous Improvement. Mitigation measures should not be limited to meeting the standards, but should also aim to reduce population exposure to Criteria Air Contaminants (CACs).

Advice Number: AP-15

Reference to EIS:

TSD 9, Section 3.3.2, Table 3.3.2-1.

Context and Rationale:

During the review of the Draft EIS in 2015, the Agency asked the proponent to provide rationale for the selection of the 16 human receptors and the number of people at each receptor location, and to present the applicable exposure pathways for each receptor group.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

The Human Health Risk Assessment (HHRA) provided rationale for selection of receptors and assumed all receptors were Indigenous as a conservative assumption.

For clarity of review, the rationale provided in the HHRA for the selection of receptors should also be provided in section 3.3.2 of the Meteorology and Air Quality TSD (TSD 9).

Advice Number: AP-16

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.2.7, Table 7-54; TSD 7, Table 4-2;

Appendix B; TSD 7, Table 5-4;

Appendix D.

Context and Rationale:

The values for "TMF Water" in Table 7-54 are not consistent with those presented for the "TMF Pond" (TSD 7, Table 4-2) or "TMF Water" (TSD 7, Appendix B).

Also, the values for "Pit Water" in Table 7-54 are not consistent with those presented in TSD 7 Table 5-4 and Appendix D.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Clarify terminology regarding contact water from the TMF, and justify discrepancies between the EIS and supporting TSDs.

Advice Number: AP-17

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.4.9.1.

Context and Rationale:

The first point appears to stop mid-sentence: "monitoring of construction and decommissioning activities during the site-preparation, construction, and closure phases to ensure water quality meets;"

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Provide the missing information.

Advice Number: AP-18

Reference to EIS:

TSD 7, Appendix C, Table C-3; TSD 16, Table 3.1.

Context and Rationale:

The values for maximum WQCP effluent concentrations are not consistent between the two reports.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Justify discrepancies between supporting TSDs.

Advice Number: AP-19

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 10, Figure 10-1; TSD 14, Appendix A, Figure 5.1.1-1.

Context and Rationale:

Figure 10-1: shows receptors and the project layout, but not the features relevant to the HHRA.

Editorial comment: Figure 5.1.1-1 is referenced but missing from TSD 14, Appendix A.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

It would be helpful if the site figure provided additional details relevant to the HHRA (e.g., air contaminant isopleths, TLU areas, local communities, recreational areas, etc.).

Advice Number: AP-20

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 5.3.

Context and Rationale:

Reference not found

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

Indicate where the oral RAF of 50% for arsenic in food (berries and wild game) is provided in ATSDR (2007).

Advice Number: AP-21

Reference to EIS:

TSD 14, Appendix A, Section 7 and Attachment 6.

Context and Rationale:

The summary tables provided in Section 7 do not always match the information provided in Attachment 6 as referenced.

Specific Question/ Request for Information:

The accuracy of calculations and headings in both areas should be confirmed as certain information as currently presented in these tables is unclear to the reader.

Advice Number: AP-22

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

This report presents the integration of baseline data, analysis of groundwater conditions, a conceptual model, and a 3D numerical model; as such, it represents the most important tool of analysis to evaluate the effects of the proposed mine to the groundwater conditions at the three scales: project, local and regional study areas.

The uncertainties associated with the adopted numerical model are briefly described in section 3.11 of the TSD 4 (page 32) but they are not discussed upfront in the executive summary.

Advice to the Proponent:

The executive summary should clearly describe the model limitations, in particular the uncertainties related to the fractured groundwater flow, not include in the numerical model.

Since this is a fractured bedrock environment, it would be useful to inform the reader that the modelling was completed using an equivalent porous medium (EPM) assumption to represent the fractured bedrock, and what the implications of this assumption may be.

Advice Number: AP-23

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4, Section 2.4.

Context and Rationale:

This section correctly describes: "The predominant groundwater flow mechanism is fracture flow", yet the 3D model was built as a porous-medium system.

Advice to the Proponent:

The consequences of this choice need to be explained.

Advice Number: AP-24

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

On figure 2-10 (it does not have a number but it is assumed to be 2-10) five cross sections are indicated (A-A', B-B', C-C', D-D', E-E', and F-F'), but they are not presented on the 3D modeling report.

Advice to the Proponent:

Hydrogeological cross sections in a 3D numerical model are important to visualize and analyze the vertical component of hydrostratigraphic units and groundwater flow directions. The five cross sections indicated in figure 2-10 should be presented in the same report to support the analysis and the results.

All the results of section 4: "simulation of steady-state conditions" should be presented on those five cross sections.

Advice Number: AP-25

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 4, Section 6.3 describes important model predictions to evaluate the effects of the mine on groundwater. The results shown on figures 6.2 to 6.9 represent conditions as seen on two-dimensional horizontal layers of the 3D model; however, they do not show the vertical component of hydraulic heads, drawdown, or particle tacking.

Advice to the Proponent:

The proponent should show the model results of the prediction of transient pit dewatering (section 6.3) on vertical cross sections, using the exact same ones depicted in the chapter 4: existing conditions; figures 4.21 to 4.23 (cross sections A-A', B-B', C-C', D-D', E-E', and F-F').

The transient results for year 10 as indicated in figures 6-5 and 6-6 should be shown on the cross sections mentioned above.

The results plotted in 2D vertical cross sections should then be analyzed and discussed.

Advice Number: AP-26

Reference to EIS:

TSD 2, Appendix A, Section 6.2.

Context and Rationale:

The authors of the report seem to misuse the carbon content expressed as CO2 in percent and the CO2 which is a gas. The amount of inorganic content expressed as CO2 originated from a reaction between the sample and an acid, the volume of CO2 is then measure. Results are then expressed as CO2%.

For example, at a few locations in the document, it is written, "the primary form of inorganic carbon is as CO2". The primary form of inorganic is most likely carbonate or bicarbonate and not CO2.

The author miss used the term CO2 and carbon content as CO2.

Advice to the Proponent:

Please revise the wording in these sections to reflect the appropriate terminology.

Advice Number: AP-27

Reference to EIS:

TSD 2, Section 3.1.4, table 3-1.

Context and Rationale:

Table 3-1 presents the lithologic composition of ore and waste from the Magino mine pit. The total ore and waste is tabulated.

Advice to Proponent

Define "(3)" assigned to the total ore and waste.

Advice Number: AP-28

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

The figures showing the location of the proposed Open Pit, TMF and MRMF outlines are confusing because the colors used for the delineation of these are the same.

Advice to Proponent:

Please use different and contrasting colors to clearly show the outlines of the proposed Open Pit, TMF and MRMF.

Advice Number: AP-29

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

The figure appearing after figure 2-2 does not have a number.

Advice to Proponent:

Confirm that it is figure 2-3 and label it as Figure 2-3.

Advice Number: AP-30

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

The figure appearing after figure 2-9 does not have a number.

Advice to Proponent:

Confirm that it is figure 2-10 and label it as Figure2-10.

Advice Number: AP-31

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 4, page 16, indicates that "…monitoring well MW/HYD13-14 at a depth of around 190 m bgs (see Figure 2-11); however, this cannot be seen on figure 2-11.

Advice to Proponent:

Clearly denote the depth of MW/HYD13-14 on Figure 2-11.

Advice Number: AP-32

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

TSD 4, page 18, indicates (section 2.7.3) that "Figures 2-10 and 2-11 show the inferred direction of groundwater flow and horizontal gradients across the site for July and October 2013, respectively." But these are not written on those figures.

Advice to the Proponent:

Text to Figures 2-10 and 2-11 should be added as described.

Advice Number: AP-33

Reference to EIS:

TSD 4.

Context and Rationale:

Figure 2-10: (which is unnumbered in TSD 4) is an important figure, the only one showing the regional groundwater flow field, but it is difficult to understand because it is not complete and a bit confusing.

Advice to Proponent:

Figure 2-10: should be completed to make it clearer and easier to understand.

For instance, the polygons indicated in red are not described in the legend. Inversely, the legend indicates three colored boxes (TMF embankment, etc.) but those colors are not shown on the map). The legend "existing contours (5m majors)" does not say what those contour are, is it a topographic contour of piezometric contour? The "groundwater inferred" dashed line is black but the only dashed lines on the map are blue, etc.

The figure should be correctly numbered.

Advice Number: AP-34

Reference to EIS:

Context and Rationale:

No access road to gain access to the explosive storage site is described in the EIS.

Advice to the Proponent:

A location is required in order to provide an environmental assessment on the area.

Advice Number: AP-35

Reference to EIS:

EIS Summary, Section 6.2.

Context and Rationale:

The Ontario Ministry of Transportation isn't listed.

Advice to the Proponent:

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry had requested that they be consulted. Was the Ministry of Transportation consulted?

Advice Number: AP-36

Reference to EIS:

EIS Summary, Section 2.2.5 and Figure 2-1.

Context and Rationale:

The EIS Summary, Section 2.2.5 states that stockpiles will be placed at a minimum of 30 m from any waterbody, however, in Figure 2-1 shows stockpiles filling lakes and watercourse.

Advice to the Proponent:

The description in the EIS Summary, Section 2.2.5 should match data in Figure 2-1.

Advice Number: AP-37

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.3.3.10.2 and 7.3.3.10.4.

Context and Rationale:

Goudreau Lake is a known recreational walleye and northern pike fishery with a number of camps and a public access point. Few details are provided on the potential adverse impacts to Goudreau Lake. The lake will provide water for mill make up and potable water. Increased water levels and flows in Goudreau Lake are anticipated due to Webb Lake Dewatering. The cumulative or combined effects of increasing and decreasing water levels could significantly negatively impact Goudreau Lake.

Advice to the Proponent:

Minimum operating levels should be applied especially during the summer operating period.

Advice Number: AP-38

Reference to EIS:

EIS Summary, Figure 2-1.

Context and Rationale:

Relocation of Goudreau Road east of open pit and crusher stockpile.

Advice to the Proponent:

The Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry will need to discuss tenure.

Advice Number: AP-39

Reference to EIS:

EIS Summary, Figure 2-1.

Context and Rationale:

Overburden stockpiles are placed over lakes and watercourses which currently hold a 120m Crown reservation.

Advice to the Proponent:

The proponent will need to discuss with the Ontario Ministries of Natural Resources and Forestry and Northern Development and Mines regarding an additional lease request

Advice Number: AP-40

Reference to EIS:

EIS Summary, Section 2.2.7.4.

Context and Rationale:

Section 2.2.7.4 of the EIS Summary describes two surface water diversions.

Advice to the Proponent:

This may require MNRF approvals to construct.

Advice Number: AP-41

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.7.5.

Context and Rationale:

The Project will destroy the hibernaculum of Species-At-Risk Bats (Little Brown Bat and Northern Long-eared Bat), as well as 1118 ha of natural bat habitat.

Advice to the Proponent:

The proponent will require a 17(2)(c) Overall Benefit Permit under the Endangered Species Act. The process begins by completing an Information Gathering Form (IGF) as described in the guidance document "Endangered Species Act Submission Standards for Activity Review and 17(2)(c) Overall Benefit Permits" which can be found on the internet.

Advice Number: AP-42

Reference to EIS:

Chapter 7, Section 7.4.7.5.

Context and Rationale:

Due to studies collected in 2014-2016 an Overall Benefit is not required at this time; however, if Whip-poor-will are discovered to be using the site any time prior to or during mining operations, an Overall Benefit permit will be required.

Advice to the Proponent:

The proponent will need to contact MNRF for an Overall Benefit permit if Whip-poor-will are are discovered to be using the site at any time prior to or during mining operations.

Advice Number: AP-43

Reference to the EIS:

Chapter 4, Section 4.4.7 and 4.6.6.

Context and Rationale:

Information about cultural heritage sites is not presented in a way that facilitates review.

Chapter 4, Section 4.6.6 presents a great deal of information, but relies heavily on other reports that are not provided, making it difficult to understand how the cultural heritage resource/component relates to the project. There is inconsistency between sections. A map and/or table would improve consistency and assist reviewers.

Advice to the Proponent:

Cultural heritage resources should be summarized in a map and/or table.

A table could list each cultural heritage resource with a brief description of the resource and its proximity to the project.

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