Participant Funding Program – Regular Funding Envelope
Funding Review Committee's Report

Allocation of Federal Funds for the Environmental Assessment of the Dumont Nickel Mine Project

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) is established pursuant to subsection 58(1.1) of the former Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, which stated: "For the purposes of this Act, the Minister shall establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in comprehensive studies, mediations and assessments by review panels."

A Funding Review Committee (FRC) independent of the environmental assessment (EA) was established for the Dumont Nickel Mine Project (the Project). The EA of the project is being conducted by means of a comprehensive study (CS). The FRC's purpose was to assess funding applications received under the PFP – Regular Funding Envelope (RFE) for the project and to provide the President of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) with recommendations on whether funding should be allocated and, if so, in what amount.

Under the RFE for this project, a total of $45,000 was made available to support public participation in the EA, including:

  • review of and comment on the summary of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) or the EIS itself; and
  • review of and comment on the Comprehensive Study Report (CSR).

The deadline to submit an application was June 26, 2012. Four applications were received, requesting a total of $19,253.

On June 28, 2012, the FRC met to review the applications. The FRC members were Bruce Young, retired Director of Panel Management with the Agency, who acted as the Committee Chairperson; Guy Riverin, retired Environmental Assessment Specialist, Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission; and Guy Demers, Senior Environmental Consultant, Formenvir.

Background

The project consists of the construction, operation and decommissioning of an open pit nickel mine located approximately 25 kilometres (km) northwest of Amos, in Quebec. The proponent intends to extract ore for 19 years, milling the higher-grade ore and temporarily stockpiling the lower-grade ore. At the end of the mining phase, the stockpiled lower-grade ore will be used to feed the mill for another 12 years, at which time the mine complex will be closed after 31 years of operation. The ore treatment facility will have an initial capacity of 50,000 tonnes per day (t/d), but will reach 100,000 t/d by the fifth year of mining operations. The project includes various related activities, such as the construction of access roads and an 8-km railroad link and the diversion of Villemontel River tributaries.

Eligibility

Under the PFPRFE, funding may be provided to applicants to support their input to an EA conducted by the federal government. These activities must be linked to the EA of a project through a comprehensive study, mediation or review panel.

Eligible recipients must be able to demonstrate that they meet at least one of the following eligibility criteria:

  • have a direct, local interest in the Project, such as living or owning property in the project area;
  • have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the EA; or
  • have expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the Project.

All of the applicants were deemed to have met the eligibility criteria.

Under the PFPRFE, applicants can request funding for expenditures related to:

  • professional fees;
  • staff salaries and benefits;
  • travel expenses;
  • honoraria for Elders and Chiefs to attend meetings and functions;
  • ceremonial offerings related to receiving traditional knowledge in relation to the EA;
  • administrative and reporting costs;
  • local collection and/or distribution of information;
  • office supplies and telephone charges;
  • rental of office space and meeting rooms;
  • legal fees;
  • general media advertising and/or promotion;
  • purchase of information material, with supporting documentation; and
  • other detailed expenses.

Rationale for Funding Allocation

In reviewing the four applications and in reaching its conclusions and recommendations the FRC took into consideration many factors, including:

  • the ability of the applicants to demonstrate that they had met one or more of the eligibility criteria listed above;
  • the quality, clarity and content of the applications and the applicants' proposed EA participation work plan;
  • the eligible activities under the PFPRFE for the project, which include reviewing and commenting on the EIS summary or the EIS itself and the CSR;
  • the extent to which the proposed activities meet the requirements of the PFPRFE; and
  • the maximum funding available to the applicants.

Recommendation

The FRC recommends allocating $18,251 of the available RFE funding to support the participation of the four applicants as follows:

  • $7,200 to the Société pour vaincre la pollution;
  • $3,108 to the Société de l'eau souterraine Abitibi-Témiscamingue;
  • $3,955 to the Organisme de bassin versant du Témiscamingue; and
  • $3,988 to the Conseil régional de l'environnement de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

The FRC further recommends that any funding allocation be conditional on a provision of written comments, by the applicants, to the Agency on the EIS summary or the EIS itself and the CSR.

Recommended Participant Funding Allocation
Dumont Nickel Mine Project
Regular Funding Envelope

Applicant Total allocation amount recommended
Société pour vaincre la pollution $7,200
Société de l'eau souterraine Abitibi-Témiscamingue $3,108
Organisme de bassin versant du Témiscamingue $3,955
Conseil régional de l'environnement de l'Abitibi-Témiscamingue $3,988
TOTAL $18,251

Funding Review Committee
Dumont Nickel Mine Project
Regular Funding Envelope

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Bruce Young, Committee Chairperson, retired Director of Panel Management with the Agency

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Guy Demers, Senior Environmental Consultant, Formenvir

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