Dear Editor: A version of this letter has been sent to members of Corner Brook city council.
Dear Mayor Greeley and councillors: Thomas Resources has proposed a routine exploration drilling program for the benign industrial minerals, garnet and kyanite, on Crown land in the Corner Brook region.
The project has been approved by Department of Environment and Conservation, which is responsible for water resources, and the Department of Natural Resources, among other provincial agencies.
As well, the company has committed to going far beyond the usual precautions to protect the environment.
However, the project has run into vocal opposition, apparently based on a misunderstanding of what is involved, although Thomas Resources has attempted to provide detailed information on the project and anyone interested may call or email the company for further information.
Most municipal water supplies in Newfoundland are from surface sources and, like that of Corner Brook, the catchment areas can have a very large aerial extent.
The Trans-Canada Highway runs through many of them and motorists will see signs noting some of them on their trips across the island.
Mineral exploration is routinely conducted in such areas with the appropriate precautions and regulatory oversight and it is, therefore, difficult to see what opponents of the Thomas Resources project view as the particular risks posed by this project.
On the other hand, should exploration be successful and the company willing to make the investment, the project could, after a rigorous permitting process by the province and city, help diversify the local and regional economy.
We urge city council to approve the project. If Corner Brook and other communities were to reject the mere possibility of resource development and wealth creation in their regions, companies will have no option but to take their investments to other parts of the world where they are welcome.
The fact that more of our children have a better chance than previous generations of building a decent life in Newfoundland and Labrador is a result of the contribution of the resource industries to the economy.
Without resource development, from where would the good jobs, the opportunities for our businesses and the tax revenues that fund our health, education and public services come?
Gerry O’Connell, P.Geo., executive
director, Mining Industry NL