Scientists make ‘water batteries’ that never catch fire

WHY.V     0.27          1.8868%      Volume:  185100      Day Range:  0.27 - 0.275      Last Updated:  2024-06-14 11:15

WHY’s Record Ridge Project – Open House Comments and Responses

On May 17 and 18 West High Yield Resources held open houses regarding our proposed Records Ridge magnesium project located near Rossland, BC.  Public interest was high and we benefitted by hearing directly from participants with a range of views, interests and concerns. We appreciate the many questions and value all input.  Our company is committed to continuing this dialogue through the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation mine permitting review process, and we know that through ongoing dialogue we will continue to build common ground, identify mutual benefits and advance Canada’s strategic interests in critical minerals and the fight against climate change. 

We encourage interested parties to follow our website and to engage in the permitting consultation process as it unfolds.  

In the meanwhile:

  • We have published a response to common issues and concerns in the Rossland News.  Click here.
  • Article published in the Trail Times covering mitigation changes to the Record Ridge Mining Project. Click here.
  • RRIMM application summary submitted to the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. Click here.
  • We are challenging a third-party website about our project, managed by undisclosed parties, that contains various pieces of inaccurate information.  This includes a prominent landing page photo of a mine that is not our project – or even our project location. In fact, it is a photo of an existing mine, run by a different company and which is roughly 5 times as large as our proposed project would be.
  • We have entered into local Indigenous Nation consultation. Click here for an update.

We thank everyone again for their interest in our project and look forward to further engagements as the permitting consultation process unfolds.

*Click on the tabs below to see the community comments raised at the Open House and WHY’s responses

Magnesium – a Strategic and Critical Mineral

WHY Resources is proposing to produce magnesium rock for sale to a third party in the USA. Magnesium plays a vital role as a critical mineral and metal in building a sustainable and green economy. Its lightweight nature, exceptional strength-to-weight ratio, and excellent machinability make it an ideal material for reducing the weight of vehicles, aircraft, and various structures. By incorporating magnesium into transportation and infrastructure, we can significantly enhance energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions.

Moreover, magnesium is crucial for the development and production of renewable energy technologies. It is an essential component in lightweight, high-performance batteries, such as magnesium-ion and magnesium-sulfur batteries, which hold promise for energy storage applications. These batteries offer advantages like high energy density, fast charging, and increased safety, enabling the widespread adoption of renewable energy sources.

In addition, magnesium-based alloys are extensively used in the manufacturing of wind turbines and solar panels. Magnesium’s corrosion resistance and ability to withstand extreme weather conditions make it a preferred choice for these applications, ensuring long-lasting and efficient renewable energy generation.

Furthermore, magnesium plays a significant role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Its presence in the production of aluminum alloys leads to lower energy consumption during the manufacturing process, resulting in reduced carbon dioxide emissions. Additionally, magnesium-based catalysts are employed in chemical reactions that convert carbon dioxide into valuable chemicals, contributing to the mitigation of climate change.

Overall, magnesium’s unique properties make it indispensable in the transition towards a sustainable and green economy. Its applications in lightweight transportation, renewable energy technologies, and emission reduction strategies position magnesium as a critical mineral and metal for a more environmentally friendly future.

Comments

W.H.Y. Resources has applied for an open pit mine in Rossland/Paterson which is in the final review stage with the provincial government, with a closing date as early as the end of August 2023. The proposed mine is 7.5kms from our homes and the schools our children attend. It is only 2kms from residential properties along Highway 22 toward Paterson.

WHY Response

WHY Resources is proposing to produce magnesium rock for sale to a third party in the USA.  Magnesium’s unique properties make it indispensable in the transition toward a sustainable and green economy and a global net-zero emissions target. Its applications in lightweight transportation, renewable energy technologies, and emission reduction strategies position magnesium as a critical mineral and metal for a more environmentally friendly future and underpins modern society.

Comments
  • Running 182 days/year, May to November, 12+hrs/day, 7 days/week.
  • 248,000 tonnes/y for two years, with plan to increase this to one million tonnes/y as part of development of a larger project, expected to extend 42-170 years.
  • Weekly explosions, constant rock crushing, and heavy machinery running all day.
  • Trucks hauling mine material through main street every 3-5 minutes all day long, every day of the week 6am-8pm.
  • Tailings storage of waste rock and tainted water.
  • Potential surface and below surface water pollution.
  • Proposed diesel power usage for generators.
  • Low levels of asbestos have been identified in the ore.
  • Eventually a chemical processing facility based on hydrochloric acid leaching.
  • We will see, smell, feel, and hear the mining. This site seems to be too close to our homes and community to be a viable option.
WHY Response
  • Mining operation runs for 180 days per year, from May to October, operating 10 hours per day, 5 days per week.
  • Initial production target of 249,000 tonnes per year for a period of two years, with the potential for extension to 10 years.
  • Considering an alternative to blasting and is currently in discussions with the relevant consultants and equipment suppliers to confirm its applicability to our resource.
  • Weekly blasting sessions, if considered, lasting a few hours each, utilizing advanced crushing technology to minimize noise and dust.
  • Small-scale hauling operation utilizing six hauling trucks, resulting in a total of approximately 70 trips per day, operating for 12 hours.
  • Measures taken to mitigate potential surface and below-surface water pollution.
  • Use of electrical crushers, eliminating the need for diesel crushers or generators.
  • Asbestos analysis conducted by a qualified third party indicates an average asbestos content of 0.0001% in the ore, deemed negligible.
  • No existing or planned processing plants on the mine site or near Rossland.
Comments

Having clean water is a right that all Canadians have. Many properties around that watershed access surface or well water. With the proposed mine location, there is increased risk that runoff from the mine could contaminate that watershed, either immediately or in the future. This could result in homeowners bearing the costs of finding an alternative way to get clean water. In addition, water is already scarce in the Rossland area during the summer months. If the proposed mine requires the use of any water, this will add significant pressure to an already taxed system. Along with risking the drinking water of residents, the proposed mine could also destroy fish habitat and the water supply for the wildlife in the area. Under the Water Sustainability Act, everyone needs a water license. How will the watershed be protected, monitored, and sustained? What measures will the province put in place to ensure current and future protection of that watershed?

WHY Response

The process of extracting and crushing rock will not require a source of water.  Water within the Mine Site will be captured by engineered ditches and directed to a pond for treatment.  In addition, the company completed a Safe Discharge Plan for the site that details the water quality predications, the monitoring program, and mitigation measures. This plan covers surface and underground water monitoring to mitigate any risks and ensure the safety of water sources.

The Mine Site is situated in the Sophia Creek watershed, with Sophia Creek eventually joining Little Sheep Creek. WHY Resources has enlisted the expertise of qualified professionals (QPs) from third-party organizations to evaluate the existing surface and groundwater quality in and around the Project area. Additionally, these QPs have assessed the potential impact of the proposed Project on water quality. Their findings indicate that the Project will safeguard aquatic life, ensure the maintenance of drinking water quality, and provide a safe environment for wildlife.

Comments

The amount of dust that will be created from the blasting, crushing, loading and hauling activity will be significant. The local residents living nearest the mine site, such as those families in Paterson, will be constantly exposed to dust and airborne chemicals in the dust. How will dust be mitigated at the mine site? How will the dust be monitored for harmful contaminants? How will the province ensure local residents have their homes, vehicles, and yards regularly cleaned from excess dust from mining activity?

WHY Response

Dust from mining will be managed by crushing the rock within a closed-circuit crusher down to gravel size.  The shipped ore consists of crushed rock gravel, which has a nominal potential for dust. However, we are committed to dust mitigation in all aspects of operation including gravel roads and will equip all trucks with covers to address dust dispersion.

Comments

The noise from weekly blasting and daily crushing and hauling on a mine site that is 7.5 kilometers from the community of Rossland and only 2 kilometers from the community of Paterson will have an extremely negative impact on the quality of life for all residents. Moreover, the proposed mine site is only 200 meters from our epic trail, Seven Summits, which is traversed by locals and tourists daily. This noise will affect the patrons of the trail significantly. In addition, the noise pollution from the heavy truck traffic through Rossland, Paterson, and Trail will negatively impact all residents. What will the province do to mitigate this noise in our communities? How can the mine site be altered to buffer sound? Is it possible to reduce hours of operation, including hauling, to be consistent with a typical work schedule, thus permitting some regard for residents?

WHY Response

The company is seriously considering an alternative to blasting and is in discussions with the relevant consultants and equipment suppliers to confirm its applicability to our resource. 

Blasting sessions, if considered, will take place weekly lasting a few hours.  The company will follow all regulations and employ measures to mitigate the impacts of blasting on nearby communities. These measures will include adjusting blast timing, blast design optimization, and controlled detonation techniques. 

Crushing: The company is considering utilizing advanced crushing technology to minimize noise from crushing operations.

Traffic through Rossland: The company is considering various measures to mitigate noise impacts on the local community including,

  • Speed restrictions: establish speed restrictions for the trucks passing through Rossland to reduce noise levels. Slower speeds can help minimize engine/tire noise, resulting in a quieter operation.
  • Route optimization: work with transportation experts and local authorities to identify transportation schedules that minimize the impact on residential areas like avoiding peak traffic hours to reduce overall noise exposure.
Comments

Within the ore there are proven traces of asbestos. With trucks driving through the center of town, estimated at every 7-10 minutes, 7 days per week, the exposure to asbestos, or other chemicals in the ore dust, is possible. Any exposure to asbestos is a serious health risk. The tests that have been done, although they might be according to the minimum regulations, are not enough to ensure the exposure to asbestos is not a threat to our communities. How will the government evaluate the contradicting reports of asbestos at the mine site? How will the government monitor potential asbestos contamination at the mine site and in the transport trucks traveling through our communities? How will dust be monitored for such chemicals?

WHY Response

Comprehensive study on asbestos was conducted in 2018 RJ Lee Group – an industrial forensics analytical laboratory and scientific consulting firm and concluded that

  • All fibrous minerals observed were contained in veins or veinlets and were not observed in the groundmass of the core. The veins ranged from 1-6 mm in thickness.
  • The deposit contains approximately 0.0001% asbestos, which is negligible.
  • Air samples were tested to determine if any asbestos was released into the air as core boxes were disturbed. No asbestiform minerals were observed on any air samples.

An asbestos management plan will be considered by the company, as part of its Dust Management Plan, to provide details on how to monitor asbestos and provide mitigation measures inclusive of health and safety.

No evidence of airborne asbestos and no concern of other airborne chemicals.

Comments

With the proposed 80 ore-truck-trips a day throughout Paterson and Rossland I am specifically concerned about road infrastructure and the safety for citizens. The town of Rossland will carry the burden of the heavy traffic throughout town, affecting businesses, residents, and homeowners. If the trucks are rerouted through Paterson, that community will be negatively impacted. It is a farming community with tractors and equipment sharing the road. How will the province ensure safety of community members, mitigate the negative impact of increased heavy traffic on tourism, and reduce potential noise from the big trucks? In addition, the dust generated by the ore trucks hauling material on the gravel road of cascade highway and through communities has the potential to greatly affect air quality. It could also create a blanket of dust on residents homes, community sidewalks, and storefronts. As queried earlier, how will the province ensure dust from the ore trucks is mitigated? And how will the province ensure that the homes and communities are kept clean?

WHY Response

The company will continue to engage with BC MOTI and the communities to discuss potential mitigation measures, such as route optimization, speed restrictions, road maintenance, and improvement. These measures will help address safety concerns and minimize disruptions to both residential and farming communities.

Traffic through Rossland: The company is considering various measures to mitigate noise impacts on the local community including,

  • Speed restrictions: establish speed restrictions for the trucks passing through Rossland to reduce noise levels. Slower speeds can help minimize engine/tire noise, resulting in a quieter operation
  • Route optimization: work with transportation experts and local authorities to identify transportation schedules that minimize the impact on residential areas like avoiding peak traffic hours to reduce overall noise exposure.

Keeping in mind that the shipped ore consists of crushed rock gravel, which has a nominal potential for dust. However, we are committed to dust mitigation and will equip all trucks with covers to minimize dust dispersion and maintain a cleaner environment.

Comments

Rossland has been named one of the best small mountain towns in Canada to live in, according to Map Quest Travel, and has worked hard to establish itself as a travel and tourist destination.. Rossland accommodation revenue from tourism reached a record in 2022, where “Total accommodation revenue was $9.5 million, a 40 per cent increase over the best year prior to the pandemic in 2019.” (Rossland News May 26, 2023). Rossland residents have invested significantly over the last 20+ years in the city center and surrounding trails, parks and recreation areas to become a four season outdoor recreation destination. Many shops and services, and the economic activity in general, is focused on catering to this market. Many of the residents of Rossland choose to live here because of the quality of life that the area offers (ie, close access to wild nature, peace and quiet, clean water, calm streets, world class winter and summer recreation possibilities, including trails that are tourist attractions). Rossland is a popular tourist destination for mountain biking and all types of skiing. In 2012, Rossland was named the “Mountain Biking Capital of Canada” by Explore Magazine. Tourism in Rossland in 2011, recorded that out-of-town mountain bikers spent a total of $589,000, which significantly contributed to the community’s revenues and added to provincial revenues (Tourism BC, 2013). Since that time, mountain biking revenues have continued to climb and are a major contributing factor for the local economy and community.

WHY Response

Firstly, regarding the potential impact on the biking trails and ski touring areas, we acknowledge the importance of preserving these recreational assets. We have taken note of your suggestions, including the possibility of temporarily (a couple of hours) closing the Seven Summits Trail during blasting. We understand the trail’s value and popularity, and we are committed to maintaining its integrity and ensuring the safety of all trail users, both local and non-local.

Seven Summit Trail: The company is ready to engage in open dialogue with the local community and trail users, seeking their input and addressing their concerns throughout the planning, development, and operation of the mine, for the purpose of providing multiple options to mitigate the noise impact and ensure the safety and enjoyment of trail users. Options to consider include the use of safety signage by installing clear and visible signage along the trail to inform users about the proximity of the mine and any associated hazards.

Additionally, we appreciate the significance of the tourism industry to the community’s economy. While the revenue figures mentioned in the question may have been overstated, we believe that the benefits of the mine extend beyond the 40-50 jobs it will offer. We are committed to supporting the community and participating in the potential development of affordable housing, as well as new or upgraded recreational facilities, such as an arena or swimming pool, that may be needed.

Regarding property values, we heard your concerns about potential decreases, but we disagree with this notion, and we believe that downstream will increase the value of the properties understanding i) the potential of multigenerational local high-paying jobs, and ii) the substantial municipal/provincial income tax that will flow to the community.

Regarding the Girl Guides Canada camp and its water resources, we have a comprehensive water management plan in place, which has been included in the company’s environmental study and permit application. This plan covers surface and underground water monitoring to mitigate any risks and ensure the safety of water sources. We prioritize the well-being and recreational experience of all community members, including the children who utilize the camp facilities.

In conclusion, we recognize your concerns and are committed to addressing them. We have taken your suggestions into consideration and will continue to engage with the community, Indigenous, stakeholders, and relevant authorities to ensure the protection of the recreational assets, economic stability, and overall well-being. Your input is valued, and we encourage ongoing dialogue as we strive for a balanced and mutually beneficial outcome.

Comments

Paterson and Sheep Creek areas are home to some of the only viable farmland Rossland has access to. This land is not protected by the ALR. This agricultural land is at risk of being negatively impacted by noise, dust, and water pollution. How will the province ensure that the impact of the mine will not affect agricultural production of this land and mitigate the effects of dust, noise, and water pollution for the cattle, horses, and poultry of these farms?

WHY Response

The protection of agricultural production and surrounding farmland are of utmost importance to the company. We are committed to working closely with the farm community, local authorities, and relevant stakeholders to uphold these commitments and maintain a harmonious coexistence between the mine and the agricultural activities in the area.

Comments

This proposed mine directly impacts the Sinixt people and their future generations. It is their land we call home and it is their right to protect it. This is their traditional unceded territory and they need to be meaningfully consulted. A representative of the Sinixt came to the community open house in Rossland on the evening of May 17th to express in very strong and heartfelt words that the band DOES NOT WANT IT. How will the province ensure that these indigenous people’s voices are considered?

WHY Response

Given the complexity of overlapping traditional territories, the company will continue to seek direction from the Crown as they “procedurally delegate” first nation consultation duties. WHY Resources has been engaging various parties with respect to the proposed project since 2018 inclusive of correspondence with Sinixt peoples and consultation meetings with various first nations.  WHY Resources completed various environmental, social, and cultural studies to support the permitting process.  In early 2019, WHY Resources submitted a draft permit application for initial feedback from Indigenous groups and technical BC regulators. Due to covid and related factors, WHY Resources was forced to pause the permitting process, which was renewed with the submission of an amended permit application on February 15, 2022, and is currently being led by the BC Ministry of Mines Office. 

Comments

The safety of people driving, hiking, and cycling along the Cascade Highway has not been considered. “Highway” is a misnomer for this gravel road, designed, as one man who attended the Open House said, “for Model-T and horse drawn wagon.” This road features narrow segments, blind corners, and precipitous drop offs. In addition, increased truck traffic through the centre of town, would further endanger the safety of drivers and pedestrians alike.

WHY Response

WHY Resources has engaged a third-party QP to develop a monitoring and management plan to ensure the health and safety of staff working in direct contact with the rock. 

Comments

The grassland deserves further study and has culturally significant flora and endangered grasslands. There is a SARA S1 listed plant – Mountain Holly Fern (Threatened) – that has multiple documented occurrences on Record ridge and within the proposed mine site (data freely available with the BC CDC). How will the province ensure that the ecosystem at Record Ridge is protected?

WHY Response

The recommended reclamation plan has been submitted to the Ministry who is currently reviewing and will decide on the reclamation bond amount at a later stage of this process. The reclamation plan includes a re-vegetation plan to address impacts from the proposed Project.  This summer, WHY Resources will engage local ecological groups to discuss the approach to re-vegetation upon completion of the proposed Project. 

Comments

WHY has limited their application and the information provided to a 2 year pilot project with extraction of only 249,000 tons of ore, to avoid the threshold of a large-scale environmental assessment. The proponents told the community that they intend to expand the mine site with additional applications after two years. The community would like to know, prior to any pilot, the full scope of the project and the effect it could have in their lives and future generations. The potential hidden social, environmental, and economic costs of this mine in the short and long term should be considered when planning this project that will affect the life of “Beautiful British Columbia” citizens. How can the province balance the right of the applicant to just a two year mining proposal and ensure the local communities receive informed consent for a potentially longer term and more invasive project?

WHY Response

The proposed Project is a typical rock quarry type operating for two years between May and October.  The operation would include blasting, mining, and on-site crushing of the ore to gravel size.  The crushed rock would be loaded on a truck for shipping to a third-party buyer in the USA.   The total surface disturbance is approximately 0.2 km2 (50 acres), which is relatively small compared to many currently operating mines in North America.  For example, the Bingham Canyon copper Mine in Utah covers an area of approximately 28 square kilometers. The Syncrude Mildred Lake Mine in Alberta, Canada, which produces oil sands, occupies an area of about 30 square kilometers.  The Mine access would be 10-km on the Old Rossland Cascade Highway from Hwy-22.  Mine blasting will occur weekly, and the Mine will operate five days per week on the day shift only. The Project does not include the production of tailings or a tailings storage facility.