New report says mining activity could contaminate watersheds along North Shore

A new report, commissioned by opponents of mineral exploration and gold mining on the North Shore, says the activity could contaminate the area's watersheds. 

Dr. Ann Maest, an aqueous geochemist with Buka Environmental from Boulder, Colorado, was commissioned by Sustainable Northern Nova Scotia (SuNNS) to evaluate the impacts of exploration and mining on the French River watershed. 

A news release from the organization says the geochemist identified the potential for acid mine drainage and the leaching of arsenic, antimony, and mercury into the watershed, saying these impacts could contaminate the French River, which is used for drinking by the Village of Tatamagouche and nearby residents with wells.

The group says these results indicate that further study is needed to better understand the risks before exploration activity moves forward in the area.  

Mining Association of Nova Scotia (MANS) executive director, Sean Kirby, says the issues being raised by SuNNs are unfounded.

Kirby is quoted by the Chronicle Herald as saying he believes a lot of the group's perceptions come from developing nations and other parts of the world.

SuNNS is a citizen's group that formed earlier this year in response to plans for gold exploration and mining in the Tatamagouche watershed, inside a 30,000 hectare area in the Cobequid Hills of Colchester and Cumberland Counties. 

~ With files from The Chronicle Herald.