The Kipawa Rare Earths project was originally proposed by Matamec Explorations Inc.
in partnership with Toyotsu Rare Earth Canada Inc (TRECAN).
In August 2021, Quebec Precious Metals entered into an agreement to sell the Kipawa Rare Earth project and neighbouring Zeus property to Vital Metals, an Australian mining company currently operating a rare earth mine in NWT.
The sale was contingent on a 'due diligence' period which lasted until September 30th 2022. In October 2022,
Vital Metals terminated the purchase agreement due to opposition from Kebaowek First Nation and Wolf Lake First Nation.
Quebec Precious Metals is still actively searching for a buyer.
It is unknown if a new buyer would utilize the same project design developed by Matamec Explorations or devise a new one.
We can not speculate the details or potential risks of the Kipawa Rare Earth project should the project design be changed.
We can however provide information regarding open pit and rare earth mining in general.
Not only are open pit mines a blight on the landscape they are associated with multiple environmental impacts and risks for human health.
Environmental impacts may include:
- Acid mine drainage and associated leaching of metals and other contaminants
- Tailings - these are byproducts of ore processing and can contain arsenic, lead cadmium, chromium, nickel and other toxic substances. Rare earth tailings also contain radioisotopes associated with Uranium and/or Thorium.
- Soil erosion and its associated impacts on water quality
- Mine dewatering - when the open pit intersects with the ground water table this acidic water needs to be pumped out. After mine closure an acidic pit lake may be formed.
- Impacts on air quality - airborne particulate matter from blasting, removal and transport of soils and ores.
- Noise pollution and vibration
Impacts on Wildlife:
- Vegetation and top soil removal
- Displacement via habitat loss or fragmentation
- Degradation of soil, air and water quality
- Fish and aquatic organisms are particularly sensitive to the impacts from open pit mining. Effects can range from chronic toxicity and reproductive harm (eg. blasting can damage fish eggs) to acute toxicity and death.
Impacts on Human Health:
- There are many impacts on human health. The most common are chronic toxicity and associated illnesses as well as elevated cancer rates and reproductive harm from exposure to heavy metals and radioactive substances.