Uranium drill holes will be fixed: Minister
Moncton resident's well full of murky water after exploration holes left
Times & Transcript
Published Friday August 22nd, 2008
FREDERICTON -- Natural Resources Minister Donald Arseneault is vowing that
uncovered uranium drill holes in the Moncton area will be filled soon or
the company will face consequences.
"If a company does not follow the rules or does it negligently, I will not
tolerate that," he said.
Arseneault didn't set a firm timeline for ensuring the holes are filled,
but said he has the authority to revoke the company's claims if it's not
Debbie Hudson, a Moncton resident who lives near the Gorge Road, has been
drinking bottled water since a mining company began exploring for uranium
near her home in February. Four drill holes were left uncovered, which is
allowing surface water to seep into her well, she said.
Although Arseneault said there's no proof that the holes are causing the
water problems -- the environment department is waiting for results from
recent water samples -- the province has contacted Sparton Resources Inc.
requesting them to fill the holes.
"They were told to fill those holes and that will be done," he said. "I
want to make sure the process has been followed in the correct manner and
if it has not, there will be some consequences."
Earlier this week, the CEO of the company said no one has contacted him
about the situation.
Arseneault said he has a number of options available to him if the holes
aren't filled, including revoking any claims the company has made. Although
the company suspended its uranium exploration after the provincial
government banned all activity surrounding municipalities and introduced a
moratorium on staking until an online program is up-and-running, Sparton
Resources has continued to explore for copper.
"If it means (I) revoke their claims and that kind of action, I will do
that," he said. "But before we get to that point I've got to find out all
the facts of the situation and we'll go from there."
Arseneault said government will not fill the holes and ask Sparton to
reimburse the province for the expense because it's the company's
responsibility to fix the problem.
It's unclear whether the company has a legal obligation to fill the holes
as they were drilled prior to the province introducing guidelines calling
for all drill holes to be filled with bentonite, a form of clay.