Environmental Group Takes De Beers to Court Over Toxic Mercury at Mine Near Attawapiskat

Environmental Group Takes De Beers to Court Over Toxic Mercury at Mine Near Attawapiskat

Diamond company failed to fully report levels of toxic mercury at northern Ontario mine, group says

A Toronto-based environmental group is taking on diamond giant De Beers over its alleged failure to fully report on the mercury levels at its Victor Diamond Mine near Attawapiskat First Nation in Northern Ontario.

The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society's Wildlands League has filed a legal action against the diamond company after raising concerns last year that mercury contamination near the mine could be higher than the company or the province were letting on.

In a statement, a spokesperson for De Beers Canada said the company has been transparent with its data.

'If Ontario isn't going to enforce its own laws, then that's why we felt we had to act.'- Anna Baggio of Wildlands League

Mercury and its highly toxic relative, methylmercury, can pose a danger to fish, animals and humans if it builds up in waterways.

Since mining activity can trigger mercury pollution, the Ontario government requires De Beers to self-monitor and report on the mercury and methylmercury levels found in creeks near the open-pit Victor mine — requirements the company says it has followed.

But after studying the diamond mine and its reporting system, Wildlands League has maintained that De Beers didn't report on the mercury levels from all its water monitoring stations.

Though the group says it has received some additional information from the diamond company since raising the matter a year ago, Wildlands League says it is still missing the full picture.

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