Canada’s Minister of Environment and Climate Change the Hon. Catherine McKenna recently announced the cabinet’s decision to approve the Akasaba West Copper-Gold Mining Project, following a federal environmental assessment. The project, proposed by Agnico Eagle Mines Ltd., will be to construct, operate and decommission an open-pit copper and gold mine located 15 kilometers east of Val-d’Or, Quebec. This project, when it is operational, is projected to create approximately 100 direct jobs, according to the proponent.

In her decision statement, the minister found the project is not likely to directly cause significant adverse environmental effects because of the relatively small size and short operational life of the project. However, in conjunction with other natural resource development in the area, the project could contribute to significant adverse cumulative effects on the ability of Indigenous People to carry out traditional activities, such as hunting and gathering, in the area, she said.

In response to this, she established more than 100 conditions to protect the environment, including mitigation measures and follow-up program requirements that Agnico Eagle Mines must fulfill. They must also consult with affected First Nations on the implementation of the conditions.

Agnico Eagle Mines will still need to obtain additional provincial and local government authorizations or permits for the project.