Fri. Mar 1st, 2024

Rejection of the ArcelorMittal appeal: a welcome decision

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The pollutant releases occurred at the Mont-Wright mining complex, near Fermont, which is located on the ancestral territory of the Innus of Uashatmak Mani-utenam. (Archive photo)

  • Stéphanie Rousseau (View profile)Stéphanie Rousseau

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The coalition So that Quebec looks better! welcomes the decision of the Quebec Court of Appeal to reject the appeal of the mining company ArcelorMittal Canada. She believes that this decision could have repercussions on the entire mining industry.

In October 2021, the Court of Quebec found ArcelorMittal Canada guilty of 93 counts of contravening the Fisheries Act for the discharge of harmful substances into the environment and for the transmission of false declarations. She fined him $15 million. This decision was appealed by the company.

The pollutant releases occurred between 2011 and 2013 at the Mont-Wright mining complex, near Fermont. The mine is located on the ancestral territory of the Innu of Uashat mak Mani-utenam.

The co-spokesperson of the coalition So that Quebec has better look!, lawyer Me Rodrigue Turgeon, speaks of the rejection of the appeal as an important judgment.

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This is a stern warning to the entire industry.

A quote from Me Rodrigue Turgeon, from the coalition So that Quebec looks better!

We know that this type of decision, when it comes from Quebec's highest court, what's more, it percolates throughout the mining industry, he says.

It's certain that it will be very useful for jurisprudence.

A quote from Me Rodrigue Turgeon, of the coalition Pour que le Québec a metres!

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Me Rodrigue Turgeon is the co-spokesperson of the coalition Pour que le Québec a dit better!. (Archive photo)

Me Turgeon underlines in particular the importance of paragraph 64 of the decision.

The decision emphasizes that the level of diligence in terms of environmental protection is higher for mining companies due to the significant risks they pose to the environment with their work, mentions the lawyer.

He also emphasizes paragraph 28 of the decision of the Court of Appeal, which specifies that if companies do not respect the environmental rules which govern the mine, they risk, in the long term, losing their environmental authorizations.

Environmental protection is not just anything. This is what allows you to operate and you have to take it seriously, says Mr. Rodrigue Turgeon.

The lawyer explains that the Court of Appeal did not accept the arguments presented by ArcelorMittal.

The Court succeeded, in a single paragraph, in truly tearing apart ArcelorMittal's strategy.

A quote from Me Rodrigue Turgeon, from the coalition So that Quebec looks better!

According to him, the company's lawyers questioned the reliability of their own analyzes and also sought to discredit the reliability of their own samples, while on the other hand, the company claimed to respect good practices in matters of 'sampling. And all this while she had failed to transmit several analysis results to Environment Canada, to the ministry.

According to Me Rodrigue, the judgment highlights the fact that financial sanctions are insufficient to enforce environmental standards.

This is a decision which is very severe towards the mining company and which solidifies the importance of ensuring increased supervision of mining activities.

A quote from Me Rodrigue Turgeon, from the coalition So that Quebec looks better!

The president of the Assembly of the MRC of the Côte-Nord, Alain Thibault, did not want to comment on the matter, contenting himself with saying that& #x27;ArcelorMittal just had to comply with the Court's judgment.

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The mayor of Port-Cartier, Alain Thibault (Archive photo)

For his part, the mayor of Fermont, Martin St-Laurent, did not wish to comment either, since he is an employee of ArcelorMittal Canada.

The mining company now has 60 days to file a request to appeal the decision to the Supreme Court of Canada.

By email, company spokesperson Annie Paré indicated that the company is analyzing the decision of the Court of Appeal. Out of respect for the legal process, we will not be able to share further information with you at this time.

With information from Charles-Étienne Drouin

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