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Participant Funding Program
Regular Funding Envelope
Participant Funding Review Committee's Report

Allocation of Funds for Participation in the Environmental Assessment Process for the Star–Orion South Diamond Project

The Participant Funding Program (PFP) was established pursuant to the legal provision contained in subsection 58(1.1) of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the Act), which states: For the purposes of this Act, the Minister shall establish a participant funding program to facilitate the participation of the public in comprehensive studies, mediations and assessments by review panels.

A funding review committee (FRC), independent of the environmental assessment (EA) process, has been established to review the funding applications submitted under the Regular Funding Envelope (RFE) and to recommend allocation of funds to applicants. A total of $20,000 has been made available through the RFE to enable applicants to participate in the environmental assessment process for the Star–Orion South Diamond Project (the Project).

On July 6, 2010, the FRC met to review the only PFPRFE application submitted totalling $7,595. The FRC members were Paul Scott, retired Regional Director of the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency's (the Agency) Vancouver office, who chaired the FRC; and Larry Lechner, Past Director, Environmental Assessment Branch, Saskatchewan Environment.

Background

Shore Gold Inc.'s Star–Orion South Diamond Mine Project is a 40,000 to 120,000-tonne per day diamond mine located approximately 60 km east of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. The Project consists of an open pit at the Star Kimberlite site and potentially a second open pit at the Orion South Kimberlite site. The Project also includes the construction of processing facilities and associated infrastructure to commercially extract diamonds. Extensive groundwater extraction will be required to operate the mine; resulting in an estimated 150,000 to 300,000 cubic metres per day of groundwater being discharged into the Saskatchewan River.

The Project is included in the major resource projects initiative and is being reviewed by means of a comprehensive study. Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Natural Resources Canada and Transport Canada are responsible authorities (RAs) under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act for this Project.

Environment Canada and Health Canada are expert federal authorities for the assessment. The Project is also subject to review under Saskatchewan's The Environmental Assessment Act. The Agency, as EA Manager, has initiated a cooperative EA with the Government of Saskatchewan.

A Notice of Commencement for the Project was posted on July 10, 2009. The Agency is working with other federal departments and the EA Branch of Saskatchewan Environment, to identify the proposed scope of the project and the assessment. On April 28, 2010, the public was invited to comment on the proposed scope of the project, the factors proposed to be considered in its assessment, the proposed scope of those factors, and the ability of the comprehensive study to address issues relating to the Project. The consultation process closed on May 31, 2010.

The PFP was advised that the purpose of the PFPRFE is to support input to the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the comprehensive study report.

Eligibility

Under the PFPRFE, funding may be provided for members of the public, Aboriginal groups and incorporated not-for-profit organizations for activities linked to the EA of the proposed project through a comprehensive study, mediation or review panel. The funds can be used to support their engagement in consultation activities and their input to the EA.

The applicants must demonstrate that they satisfy one of the following three eligibility criteria:

  • have a direct, local interest in the Project, such as living in or owning property in the project area;
  • have community knowledge or Aboriginal traditional knowledge relevant to the EAs of the Project; or
  • have expert information relevant to the anticipated environmental effects of the Project.

The one application received was deemed to have met these criteria.

Rationale For Allocation

The application submitted by the applicant was reasonable and concise. The FRC concluded that the applicant's contribution to the environmental assessment process could prove relevant. The FRC found that the amounts and the proposed use of the funding applied for were very reasonable.

Recommendation

The FRC recommends an allocation of funds totalling $7,595 to the applicant to participate in the environmental assessment of the Project.

It is recommended that the funds allocated to the applicant by the PFP be used to gather relevant data and disseminate it to the communities, hold meetings in their First Nation communities as well as the urban community of Prince Albert, and provide input on the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the comprehensive study report.

Funding Review Committee

Star–Orion South Diamond Project

_____________________________
Paul Scott, Chairperson
Retired Regional Director, Vancouver Office, Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency

_____________________________
Larry Lechner
Past Director, Environmental Assessment Branch, Saskatchewan Environment

Recommendation on Allocation of Funds to Participants

Star–Orion South Diamond Project
Regular Funding Envelope

Applicant Total amount recommended
Peter Ballantyne Cree Nation $7,595
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