Big-time financial “industry” gamblers from the States would buy up rights to mine gravel and devastate the headwaters of major Ontario rivers
By Carl Cosack and Harvey Kolodny –
MELANCTHON, ON—The Highland Companies, owned by a U.S. based Hedge Fund has filed an application with the Ministry of Natural Resources and the Township of Melancthon for a mega-quarry with extraction approximately 200 feet below the water table and covering almost 2,400 acres of prime agricultural land at the headwaters of major rivers. If approved, this would be the largest open pit limestone mining operation in Ontario. The proposal is being met with fierce opposition from affected and interested citizens across the province.
“This area is called the Hills of the Headwaters for a reason,” noted local farmer Carl Cosack, a member of the North Dufferin Agricultural Community Task Force (“NDACT”). “The applicant’s own materials show that excavating a crater this size means managing 600 million litres of groundwater every day from now until the end of time. I can’t believe that the provincial government will allow any party, let alone a U.S. hedge fund to take some of the best agricultural land in Ontario out of production, nor risk tampering with a water supply that could affect over a million people downstream served by these watercourses,” said Cosack.
In preparation of their application The Highland Companies have purchased approximately seven thousand acres of prime agricultural land where they have demolished homesteads, farm structures and thousands of trees to make way for their business operations. “This area is vital to Ontario’s current and future food and water supplies,” said Dr. Harvey Kolodny, a founding Director of the Citizens’ Alliance for a Sustainable Environment (“CAUSE”). “It doesn’t matter how much limestone there is under these farms, it makes no sense to locate an open pit mine on Class ‘A’ soils in the Hills of the Headwaters and put the source water for some of Ontario’s most important rivers at risk,” said Kolodny.
NDACT, CAUSE and other community-based groups are working to encourage all Ontarians to get informed and involved in this issue. As required by Provincial Legislation, the Highland Companies will be holding a public meeting on Tuesday April 12, in the hamlet of Hornings Mills. The application can be viewed at http://www.highlandcompanies.ca/index.php/companies/melancthonquarry/. Citizens who want to express their opposition to the proposal must write to both the Ministry Natural Resources (MNR District Office, 2284 Nursery Rd. Midhurst, ON L0L 1X0) and The Highland Companies (P.O. Box 377, Shelburne, ON L0N 1S0) before April 26 to have their views considered during the government review of this application.