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From the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency to Galaxy Lithium (Canada) Inc. re: Non-Conformity of the Environmental Impact Statement

Agence canadienne d'évaluation environnementale
901 -1550, ave d'Estimauville
Québec (Québec) G1J 0C1

Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency
901 -1550 d'Estimauville Avenue
Quebec, QC G1J 0C1

November 30, 2018

EMAIL

Ms. Gail Amyot
Galaxy Lithium (Canada) Inc.
2000 Peel Street, Room 720
Montréal, Quebec H3A 2W5

Dear Ms. Amyot:

SUBJECT Request for additional information to begin analyzing the Environmental Impact Statement for the James Bay Lithium Mine Project

On October 30, 2018, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency (the Agency) received the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the summary of the EIS prepared by WSP for the James Bay Lithium Mine Project (the project).

After assessing the conformity of these documents with the EIS Guidelines of February 21, 2018, the Agency, in co-operation with the Federal Environmental Assessment Committee, determined that some information was missing. This information is essential to beginning the technical review of the EIS.

In Appendix 1 of this letter, you will find the sections of the Agency's Guidelines for which information is required. Please refer to the description of the sections in the Guidelines for details on the requested information. When all the information required in Appendix 1 is provided, the Federal Environmental Assessment Committee will begin its technical review.

In Appendix 2, you will find a list of additional recommendations. We are sending it to you now because this information will be required upon a first additional information request at the technical review stage of the EIS.

Indigenous consultations

We would like to inform you that the Agency reassessed the obligation to consult, which led to the inclusion of Waskaganish and Waswanipi Cree Nations in the Agency's consultation on this project. We ask that you have a discussion with these two Nations to get their perspectives and the information required in Section 5 of the Guidelines.

Furthermore, please also take these two Nations into account when considering the impacts of environmental changes on Indigenous Peoples (Sections 6.1.9 and 6.3.4) and the cumulative impacts (Section 6.6.3).

Please contact me by email at pierre-olivier.emond@canada.ca or by telephone at 418-454-5893 for clarifications on this information request. We are also available for a meeting to discuss it with you.

Yours sincerely,

<Original signé par>

Pierre-Olivier Émond
Project Manager – Quebec

Attached: Appendix 1 – Information required to begin the technical review
Appendix 2 – Additional recommendations

c.c. [by email]: Annaig Kervella, Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Catherine Gaudette, Transport Canada
Isabelle Vézina, Health Canada
Kaitlin Lloyd, Cree Nation Government
Marie-Ève Lenghan, Natural Resources Canada
Sylvain Martin, Environment and Climate Change Canada

Appendix 1 – Information required to begin the technical review

Sections of the EIS Guidelines issued by the Agency

Part 1 – Key considerations

Section 4.5 Summary of Environmental Impact Statement

In the summary of the Environmental Impact Statement for each of the valued components, include an overview of the expected changes to the environment and their main potential environmental impacts on the valued components. Table 13 alone: Summary of residual impacts is not sufficient.

Moreover, the summary should reflect all changes or additions made to the EIS subsequent to this correspondence.

Part 2 – Content of the Environmental Impact Statement

Section 2.2 Alternative means of carrying out the project

Assess the alternative means of carrying out the project for the following components:

  • location of the mine infrastructure and its operations, particularly the ore processing plant, the administrative and support facilities, workers' camps, the garage, the storage of explosives and the septic facilities, including the service buildings for disinfection and phosphorous dosing;
  • location of discharge points of the final effluents.

Section 3.1 Project components

These elements are part of the designated project and must be considered in the project description and analysis of its impacts:

  • borrow pits;
  • concrete batch plant;
  • warehousing area for dangerous materials and waste;
  • infrastructure related to manufacturing and storing explosives (emulsion storage, detonator storage, garage, etc.);
  • transportation of concentrate to the Matagami transloading facility;
  • power line within the boundaries of the project area;
  • fibre-optic line within the boundaries of the project area.

Consider all these components of the project when analyzing the cumulative impacts.

Describe the leakage and spillage detection systems of petroleum equipment or reservoirs or detection systems of leakage from waste rock piles/tailings sites or polishing and treatment ponds.

Provide the document entitled: Detailed map of surface deposits and identification of potential borrow source (WSP, 2018).

Section 3.3 Project activities

3.3.1 Site preparation and construction

Site clearing, stripping and excavation

Describe and map the surfaces that must be deforested on the entire project site. Specify and identify all the buffer zones that will be added to the area to deforest, clear, excavate or level.

Water management

Present a section regarding water management during the construction phase and the details of infrastructure constructions and permanent and temporary systems.

Provide a map illustrating the development of the infrastructure during the construction phase, including the relevant details on an appropriate scale. This map should show the trajectory (the direction of the flow, pumping stations, feeder drains, etc.) of all water on the site.

Include detailed information on the effluent treatment systems during the construction phase and on their capacity to treat different types of contaminants in the water.

3.3.3 Decommissioning and abandonment

Describe the ownership, transfer and control of various elements of the project.

Describe who will have the responsibility of supervising and maintaining the integrity of the remaining structures.

Section 5 Consultation with Indigenous Nations and concerns raised

Present the components valued by Indigenous Nations and explain how they will be considered in the EIS.

Present their perspectives on:

  • the use of harvested plants and berries for nutritional or medicinal purposes;
  • the effectiveness of the mitigation and accommodation measures;
  • the cumulative impacts of the project on the use of the territory for traditional purposes;
  • the review of the archaeological potential conducted as part of the project.

Describe how Indigenous traditional knowledge was included in the Environmental Impact Statement (including the methodology, the baseline conditions and the analysis of the impacts for all components valued by Indigenous Peoples, including the archeological potential) (also see Part 1 – Section 4.2.2 of the Guidelines for more information).

Document the potential negative impacts of the various components and concrete activities of the project (for every phase) on the established or potential section 35 Aboriginal rights, including the related titles and interests.

This assessment must compare Aboriginal rights and related titles and interests which will be determined under future conditions, with and without the project. The perspectives of Indigenous Nations that may potentially be affected should be included once they have sent them to the proponent.

Document the measures intended to mitigate the potential negative impacts of the project on established or potential section 35 Aboriginal rights, including their titles and interests. The measure should be prepared as particular commitments that clearly describe how the proponent plans to implement them and they may require much more than simple mitigation measures developed to counter potential negative environmental impacts.

Document all potential negative impacts on established or potential section 35

Aboriginal rights, including their related titles and interests that were not completely mitigated or subject to accommodation as part of the environmental assessment and the Indigenous consultation. Also take into account the negative consequences that could result from residual and cumulative environmental impacts. The perspectives of Indigenous Nations that will potentially be affected should be included once they have sent them to the proponent.

Section 6.1 Project setting and baseline conditions

6.1.1 Atmospheric, light and sound environment

Describe the ambient noise levels at key receptor points, including Cree community camp sites.

The study must include the geographic extent of sound sources and temporal variations.

6.1.4 Riparian and wetland environments

Present Indigenous traditional knowledge on the characterization of the shoreline, banks, current and future flood-risk areas, and wetlands. If no information was provided by the Indigenous Nations, indicate it.

6.1.5 Groundwater and surface water

Map the boundaries of the watershed (map 6-7) on a larger scale (e.g., the Eastmain River watershed).

Provide the bathymetric surveying results for all the water bodies where these surveys were conducted (WSP, 2018. Étude spécialisée sur l'habitat du poisson).

Present the complete results of the characterization of sediment in Lac Asiyan

Akwakwatipusich conducted in 2012, and provide the raw data.

6.1.6 Fish and fish habitat

Provide the details of the characterization of watercourses by homogenous segment.

Describe the existing structures that hinder the free passage of fish like the CE3 and CE4 watercourse culverts located under James Bay Road and indicate if, under the current conditions, free passage of fish is possible at that location. Photographs D-54 and D-80 of the Specialized Study on Aquatic Habitat (WSP,

2018) does not confirm that fish can pass through these culverts.

6.1.7 Migratory birds and their habitat

Provide the complete results of the bird survey conducted in 2012 and 2017, particularly by providing the raw data (air survey, point counts, etc.).

6.1.8 Species at risk

In order to describe the habitats conductive to all species that are potentially present in the study area:

  • Make and present the list of all the species at risk and of special concern that are present or potentially present in the study area by consulting various lists of species with particular statuses (Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada [COSEWIC] and Schedule 1 of the Species at Risk Act). It should include but not be limited to:
    • Short-eared Owl; o Rusty Blackbird; o Canada Warbler
    • Common Nighthawk
    • Olive-sided Flycatcher;
    • Bank Swallow;
    • Boreal and Migratory Caribou;
    • Wolverine;
    • Bats: Tri-Coloured Bats, Little Brown Myotis and Northern Myotis.
  • Using the ranges and descriptions of habitats, particularly those located directly or indirectly in the areas affected by the work, analyze whether the species at risk and of special concern are likely to be present. If this is the case, decide whether additional surveys are necessary to determine if the species are present or not.
  • Describe the dwellings, seasonal movements, movement corridors, habitat requirements, critical habitats, general life history, regional abundance and distribution of species at risk and of special concern likely to be in the study area or affected by the project, including the recovery strategies, action plans and management plans;
  • Map the potential habitat of all species at risk and of special concern present and potentially present in the study area.

6.1.9 Indigenous Peoples

Describe:

  • the use of navigable waters by members of Indigenous Nations;
  • past, present and future traditional uses of caribou;
  • recreational uses;
  • burial sites;
  • cultural landscapes;
  • locations, objects or items that are sacred, ceremonial or have cultural importance.

Indicate how the Nations' comments and the Indigenous traditional knowledge were used to establish the baseline conditions of the natural and cultural heritage.

Section 6.2 Predicted changes to the physical environment

6.2.1. Changes to the atmospheric, sound and light environment

Include the ozone in the modelling study.

Provide the Primero report (2018) that includes the dust management plan.

6.2.3. Changes to riparian, wetland and terrestrial environments

Present the changes to the waterfowl habitat, given its importance, particularly for traditional hunting.

Present the changes to the animal and plant species habitat, including those that are important in the context of the current use of resources by non- Indigenous Peoples.

Section 6.3 Predicted impacts on valued components

6.3.2 Birds and their habitat

Detail the delivery timeline by describing the time of year, frequency and duration of activities associated with the project. The project activities that will be conducted during the critical nesting period must be identified and the mitigation measures that will be implemented for all activities to minimize the potential impacts on migratory birds must be detailed.

Describe the impacts of avifauna's potential use of various pools of water on the mining site.

Describe the direct negative impacts of possible losses of habitats on migratory birds, including the diversity and abundance of the species.

6.3.3 Species at risk

Describe the potential impacts of the project for each species at risk and of special concern that are present or potentially present in the study area while taking into account the information in the existing recovery strategies or management plans.

Describe all the mitigation measures that will be implemented for each species at risk and of special concern that are present or potentially present in the study area and that risk being affected by the project while considering the information in the existing recovery strategies or management plans.

Present the Indigenous Nations' perspectives regarding the impacts of the project on caribou.

6.3.4 Indigenous Peoples

Current uses

Describe and analyze the following elements:

  • any changes or modifications to access areas used for traditional purposes, including the development of new roads, deactivation or reclamation of access roads and changes to waterways that affect navigation;
  • how timing of project activities (e.g., construction, blasting, or discharges) has the potential to interact with the timing of traditional practices, and any potential impacts resulting from overlapping periods.

Human health related to changes to the environment

Justify whether or not it is necessary to assess the risk of contamination of locally produced foods and justify the exclusion of certain contaminants in the assessment, if applicable.

Describe and analyze the following elements:

  • the potential impacts on the quality of various sources of drinking water and water for recreational use for each stage of the project. It is advised to also consider the impacts on the physical parameters that can affect the treatment process of drinking water. If a change in water quality is expected, assess the impacts on the quality of water and human health.
  • the impacts of noise on the health of Indigenous Peoples (hunting camps).

Assess the environmental impacts of the project on the natural and cultural heritage, constructions, locations or important things with respect to history, archaeology, paleontology and architecture for Indigenous Nations.

Section 6.6 Other impacts to consider

6.6.3 Cumulative impacts assessment

Complete the cumulative impacts analysis by integrating all the species at risk and of special concern present and potentially present in the study area and likely to be affected by the project.

Indicate whether the Indigenous Nations were consulted during the final decision on valued components and the appropriate boundaries to use to assess the cumulative impacts. If applicable, explain how their comments were taken into account.

Section 7 Summary of environmental impacts assessment

Complete table 7-13 to add the residual impacts subsequent to implementing the proposed mitigation measures. See Appendix 1 of the Guidelines for an example.

Appendix 2 – Additional recommendations

The following elements are not required to allow the Agency to begin analyzing the EIS. However, it is information that will be required upon a first additional information request at the EIS technical review stage.

Part 1 – Key considerations

Section 4.4 Presentation and organization o fEnvironmental Impact Statement

When possible, include the layering of the project's key components on the maps.

Indicate the location of the following components on map 4-1:

  • LETI;
  • concrete batch plant;
  • warehousing area for dangerous materials and waste;
  • infrastructure related to manufacturing and storing explosives (emulsion storage, detonator storage, garage, etc.);
  • power line within the boundaries of the project area;
  • fibre-optic line within the boundaries of the project area.

Part 2 – Content of Environmental Impact Statement

Section 1.4 Regulatory framework and the role of government

The Fisheries Act

The regulatory framework presented does not include any mention of the Fisheries Act, aside from applying the MDMER. However, subsection 35(1) stipulates that "No person shall carry on any work, undertaking or activity that results in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery." The proposed project will likely cause impacts on fish and their habitat, particularly on the decrease or increase in surface or groundwater watershed into watercourses near the project. An authorization issued by the DFO under subparagraph 35(2)(b) of the Fisheries Act may therefore be required for this project if it is determined that the expected impacts will translate into serious harm within the meaning of the Fisheries Act. This authorization must be identified in Sections 2.4.2.2 and 2.4.3.2 of the EIS.

The Explosives Act

The EIS indicates that there will be a storage of emulsion and ammonium nitrate for blasting needs and therefore emulsion in bulk will be pumped on site. The emulsion pumping from the fuelling tanker to the silo and from the silo to the mobile manufacturing facility constitutes explosive manufacturing activities according to the Explosives Act, as is the case for the production of the ammonium nitrate and diesel oil mixture. A garage with a cleaning room may also be required on site to maintain the mobile facilities. Since the explosive supplier will need a manufacturing licence pursuant to subsection 7(1) of the Explosives Act, this authorization must be identified in Section 2.4.3.2 of the EIS.

The Navigation Protection Act

Transport Canada is still not able to decide whether the project will require an order under the Navigation Protection Act, but if authorization is necessary, it must be identified in Sections 2.4.2.2 and 2.4.3.2 of the EIS.

Section 2.2 Alternative means of carrying out the project

Waste rock dumps, tailings and overburden

Justify the choice of locations for the discharge of waste rock and tailings while considering the potential impact of each option on the quality of groundwater and surface water including the acid drainage and metal leaching challenges. The analysis of the variations must also include an analysis of the characteristics of leaching during waste rock and tailings management in a co- disposal versus separate disposal.

Energy sources options

Complete the assessment of energy sources options, particularly including the option of powering the mobile generators with solar panels. Provide the preliminary study conducted by the specialized firm Tugliq.

Section 3.1 Project components

Present more detailed and complete information about the sealing measures of the bottom of dumps and contact water drains.

Specify the mechanical works referred to in Section 4.4.2 of the EIS and indicate where it is planned to be done.

Section 3.3 Project activities

Water and wastewater management facility and septic tanks

Provide a description of the location of the peripheral ditches and the location of watersheds on map 3-1.

Describe the physical layout of the effluents on watercourses CE2 and CE3 (type of structure and dimensions, work method for construction, temporary works, work period and duration, etc.).

Create a detailed map on an appropriate scale of the water flow on the site and for every phase of the project. All relevant structures must be identified in it, including the various sedimentary or retention basins, dumps and sampling stations for water quality monitoring. Ensure that the map reflects the water flow returning to the same infrastructure it came from.

Describe the mine water flow north of the waste rock dump and the main sedimentation basin.

Provide more information on the drainage trenches indicated in Section 4.8.2 of the EIS, particularly their role and their locations.

Linear infrastructure and types of structure used for stream crossings Describe the bridge planned to get across the CE3 watercourse (dimensions, scope, design, work methods, temporary works, work period and duration, etc.).

Construction or reflection of existing roads and access roads

Indicate which entity will be responsible for planning and implementing improvements to the James Bay Road like adding turn lanes and clarifying the role of the proponent (Galaxy Lithium) for this work.

Section 5 Consultation with Indigenous Nations and concerns raised

Cree Nation of Eastmain

  • Re-contact the tallyman of lot RE1 to confirm whether his interest in being consulted is still the same as it was in 2011–2012;
  • Consult the tallyman of lot RE3. It is located within the study area, and on the same watershed of the projected mine.

Describe how the various mitigation measures proposed by the Nations were treated by the proponent and why they were not chosen, if applicable.

Ensure to get the consent of the users of the territory to publish the maps showing the valued sectors for traditional gathering grounds and location of hunting camps and cabins.

Section 6.1 Project setting and baseline conditions

6.1.1 Atmospheric, light and sound environment

Explain how the information from the reference study on the sound level dating back to 2011 is still representative to support the analysis.

6.1.2 Geology and geochemistry

Geochemical characterization of mine material

Describe the material used (particle size, pre-treatment, humidity, dryness, representative sampling) and the methods applied to assess the reliability of the results.

Baseline concentrations of contaminants of concern within environments Analyze the arsenic speciation testing to predict its mobility and toxicity. These studies and analyses should be conducted in the water, soil and sediments for the watersheds from the LETI to the CE5 watercourse.

Geochemical characterisation of leaching potential

Provide the results of the chemical and geochemical analyses of construction materials and a map presenting the types of lithology as presented in the geochemical study.

Provide the results of the analyses that support the observation that the overburden is barely leachable, particularly the results of the static tests. Indicate if kinetic tests will be required for the ore and the overburden. If not, please explain the reasons.

Provide the results of the kinetic tests started in May 2018 to predict the mobility of concerning contaminants.

Demonstrate that the sampling conducted for wet standpipe tests is representative of waste rock and tailings.

Given the significant concentrations of arsenic in the waste rock and ores, conduct a comprehensive assessment of the potential for leaching into receiving environments.

6.1.5 Groundwater and surface water

Specify the nature (ground or surface) and the use of other sources of drinking water identified on map 6-22 and describe their potential use in the future.

Include the direction of the water flow on the maps representing a water system.

Section 6.2 Predicted changes to the physical environment

6.2.1 Changes to the atmospheric, sound and light environment

When modelling the air dispersion of contaminants, include:

  • the emissions from truck motors and dust generated by transport (coming-going) between the mine and Matagami;
  • the emissions from the generators (indicate their number and location);
  • the emissions from the concrete plant and related equipment (e.g., dust extractor, material storage area, etc.).

Estimate their contribution to the overall atmospheric emissions.

If applicable, document and justify not including all construction and operation activities in the model.

6.2.2 Changes to groundwater and surface water

Table 7-3 presents the expected interrelated impacts. However, the overall impact of the project on the quality of the surface water during various phases of the project is not presented, several important sources of impact like the release of mining effluents into receiving waters, is not indicated. Describe and quantify:

  • the impacts caused by mine water on the quality of receiving waters in the project's study area;
  • the impacts potentially caused by the leaching and risk of acid drainage into waste rock dumps/tailings and overburden.

Section 6.3 Predicted impacts on valued components

6.3.2 Birds and their habitat

Describe the direct and indirect impacts in a specific manner while considering the various groups of birds (waterfowl, shorebirds, land birds, etc.).

Section 6.6 Other impacts to consider

6.6.1 Impacts of potential accidents or malfunctions

Document the potential impacts, specifically those on the species at risk that are present and potentially present in the study area, and assess the consequences that an accidental spill following a jetty failure would have on these species and their habitats.

Anticipate the losses incurred in various types of habitats and estimate the number of migratory birds that would be impacted following an accidental spill.

6.6.3. Cumulative impacts assessment

Justify the choice of the longer temporal scope, which is set for 2028.

Other considerations

Order under the Navigation Protection Act

According to the information in the EIS, Transport Canada is unable to decide if the project will require an order under the Navigation Protection Act. This will depend on the determination of the navigability and uses of Lac Kapisikama and other watercourses affected by the project.

Revalidate the question of navigability with Cree communities and present a detailed account of the consultations (dates, names of people, minutes, etc.). Provide clarifications on the following three points for each watercourse and lake affected by the project:

  1. The public's use for navigation: Information on current use: Is there information (e.g, evidence) confirming the current use of the waterway by the public for navigation purposes? Either as an internal water body or as an element of a navigation network extending beyond the boundaries of the waterway? Provide details or attach a copy of the studies/reports.
  2. Prior use: Is there information (e.g. evidence) confirming the use of the waterway by the public for navigation purposes in the past? Either as an internal water body or an element of a navigation network extending beyond the boundaries of the navigable path? Provide details or attach a copy of the studies/reports.
  3. The public's interest in the waterway as a water body: Is there a reasonable probability of the public using the waterway for navigation purposes? Is there evidence attesting that the public is likely to want to use this waterway as a water body (e.g., Does a public consultation suggest that, due to local development, the public has concrete plans to use the waterways for boating so that the waterway in question may be used as a water body?).
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