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'Sillica' Corporations Quietly Prospecting Northern Saskatchewan Without Local Consultation

Local Agricultural Lease Holders and trappers livelihoods endangered... Over Sand?

by Daniel Johnson

Notices posted around the major mushroom picking areas near Creighton-Flinflon shortly after the original article was posted.
Notices posted around the major mushroom picking areas near Creighton-Flinflon shortly after the original article was posted.
Map from Garcia Sillica's permit
Map from Garcia Sillica's permit
Nearest neighbors, the Rabbit Creek beaver pond
Nearest neighbors, the Rabbit Creek beaver pond
'Sillica' Corporations Quietly Prospecting Northern Saskatchewan Without Local Consultation
'Sillica' Corporations Quietly Prospecting Northern Saskatchewan Without Local Consultation

(This  is an emerging situation, the article will be updated and expanded when more is known, the local community is informed, and some kind of action determined.) 

UPDATED: 

After this article began making the rounds on social media, we have gotten mixed messages from different directions, some people with trap lines in the area were aware of the 'Fur Block' meeting, some had no idea, not all trappers in North Saskatchewan are part of the 'Fur Block'.

 

 Right after the original article went online, notices regarding Garcia Sillica from Saskatchewan Ministry Of Economy, dated July 22, 2017, were posted around the Creighton/Flinflon turnoff around the main mushroom roads, contradicting the following response which was sent by Darwin Roy, Coordinator for Lac LaRonge Indian Band, to myself and various people sharing the article:

 

 

FYI:

Re: Garcia Silica

Camillo Garcia, of Garcia Silica, did some exploration work in 2014-2015 in the area between Napatak and Creighton Junction. This year he proposed to do further sampling but was denied the license by the province because of improper documentation. He has been pursuing support as he has met with the Town of La Ronge, Air Ronge, and the Lands & Resources Management Board. He has also been in regular communication with the Trapper Fur Block executive and some of the other trappers registered in the area in question. He has tried to engage with us much more but we are not going to officially meet with him and organize a meeting for the band members to engage with him until we get a notification from the government that says he is seeking to do more work. As it stands today, he does not have a license to do any activity. If, and when we get a notification from the provincial government regarding Garcia, we will organize a meeting with Garcia, the provincial representatives who issue permits and licenses, and any band members/public who have an interest.

Darwin Roy
Coordinator, LLRIB Lands & Resources

Original article:

Recently I decided to get out of the city for the summer and spend time with relatives in the north. In early June I began living and working at Alicorn Stables, assisting with the care and feeding of horses, leading trail rides for school kids, helping at risk youth in the 'Equine Assited Learning' program, and doing general farm labor. It's been good for me, I am overcoming the 'activist burn-out' and associated depression/anxiety issues common to long time environmental activists that have started to catch up with me in recent years. 

My brother and his wife established the horse ranch 15 minutes south of LaRonge 4 years ago, when they got an agricultural land-lease through the Saskatchewan government for a section of previously undeveloped land and began working it into what it is now.  The work has been extremely hard, and there have been high costs associated with it.

They have to pay environmental fees for cutting the trees, they are not allowed to draw water from the nearby creeks because of environmental restrictions, so they haul water in. They've been okay with this, they understand these issues and have done everything they can to keep their 12 horse, off-grid operation ecologically sustainable, obeying all the laws involved in the land-lease, interfering as little as possible with local widelife. 

Today, my sister-in-law discovered that the area is being looked at by major resource companies, and the same Saskatchewan government that concerns itself with the most minor environmental impact caused by her small farm has been working all along with Garcia Silica Inc in hopes of ripping up the entire area... not for oil, gold or diamonds in this case, but because of the wonderfully fine grade of sand that can be found all over the region. 

According to the report, titled 'Report Of Preliminary Inspection, LaRonge Silica Sand',  "preliminary prospection field work was conducted on Mineral Claims numbers MC00001288 and MC00001298 during the periods of September 19‐24, 2014 and September 22‐25, 2015. The field work consisted of mapping access routes, confirming the presence of silica sand within the claims, and collecting samples for preliminary evaluation of the quality of the sand.   Both claims have an excellent network of active and abandoned logging roads, some of which will need rehabilitation. The claims covered by unconsolidated medium to coarse creamy white to sandy brown silica sand with little or no overburden. The chemical composition and the physical attributes of the sand exceed the minimum requirements for various industrial applications including hydraulic fracking."

According to the report, this process has been ongoing since 2014 and they have already obtained the mineral rights. Mineral claims are located 21km south of LaRonge, extending to the 'mushroom lands' where people from all over the region head every year to pick the Chantrelle mushrooms preferred by professional chefs around the world, near the Creighton junction and east on highway 165. 

Alicorn Stables is located right next to the permit area, as are several other occupied crown leases lots and occupied trap lines. As far 

as can be gathered, none of the local farmers, trappers or other lease owners near the site have been contacted about this. 

 

Effected local people, as well as lawyers and community leaders are being contacted about this, this article will be updated and expanded when more is known and a plan of action is determined by the local people. Nothing is established yet, but the more people who know about the situation the more effective possible actions might be. 

 

 

 


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