STEPHENSON, Mich. Dec. 14, 2017 – Recently, we heard a claim that Canada has outlawed ‘sulfide’ mining. To make a long story short, this claim is false.

Our friends to the north did not outlaw the mining of sulfide-bearing ore bodies. In fact, we asked Justyna Laurie-Lean, Vice President Environment and Regulatory Affairs for the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), this very question. “Much of Canadian deposits and host rock have sulfides, so such a ban would be ludicrous,” Laurie-Jean replied in an email. In addition, MAC’s 2017 Guide to the Management of Tailings Facilities talks to the management of sulfide tailings.

Silvestri Matteo

There is no basis for describing a zinc, copper or any other mineral mine as a “sulfide mine.” The term “sulfide mining” is slang, not a scientific or industry term. It is a term used by mining opponents to elicit concern and to confuse people. They want people to think that a mining company is producing something other than the minerals needed by society, like zinc, copper, lead and other important raw materials. These metals occur naturally as sulfide-bearing mineral groups.

The London Metal Exchange (LME) is world’s largest commodities exchange for metals. You will not find ‘sulfides’ on the list of metals being traded on the exchange. What you will find on the exchange are metals like those that we will mine at Back Forty: zinc, gold, copper, silver and lead.

So, what about the sulfides? The minerals that make up the sulfides are composed of metal cations (+2 charge) combined with sulfur(S). For example, chalcopyrite (CuFeS2) is the most abundant type of copper-bearing ore. Sulfide bearing tailings and waste rock will be stored on the Tailings and Waste Rock Management Facility (TWRMF) and Waste Rock Storage Facility. These facilities are designed to prevent metals from getting into the groundwater. They will feature multi-layered pads with a leak detection systems and sumps. All water on site, including from these sumps, is collected and either reused in the mining process or sent to the water treatment plant for processing prior to discharging to the river.

If you have questions or concerns, please contact us at 906-753-9602, email us, or send us a message through our website.