New Brunswick

N.B. accepts Sisson mine environmental assessment report

The New Brunswick government has accepted the environmental impact assessment report (EIA) for a proposed open-pit tungsten and molybdenum mine north of Fredericton.

Energy minister says people will be ecstatic once they see 'first shovel in the ground'

Sisson mine debate

8 years ago
Duration 2:20
Energy and Mines Minister Donald Arseneault told CBC News the provincial government would consider giving St. Mary's First Nation a piece of land if the Sisson mine project is approved.

The New Brunswick government has accepted the environmental impact assessment report (EIA) for a proposed open-pit tungsten and molybdenum mine north of Fredericton.

Donald Arseneault, minister of energy and mines, told CBC News the Sisson mine project, worth more than $500 million, is on its way to becoming a reality.

"Sometimes we have to make sure that we don't get people too hyped up of what stage the project is at, but this one is quite close," Arseneault said.

"So I think [the] people of Stanley and those areas are going to be quite ecstatic once they see the reality and the first shovel in the ground to dig that hole."

The lifespan of the Sisson mine project would be 27 years. This graphic from a video by Northcliff Resources shows what the project would look like at year 20. (Northcliff Resources Ltd.)
Vancouver-based Northcliff Resources submitted the environmental impact assessment report in 2013 as part of the province's environmental review.

The next step in the review process is public consultation.

The province says it will release the consultation schedule within 30 days once Northcliff makes revisions to its final report, which the company plans to submit in the coming days.

Northcliff Resources says the long-awaited acceptance of its EIA is a major step forward.

"The acceptance of the Sisson Project Final EIA Report represents a critical milestone for Northcliff and advances our goal of creating a significant new North American tungsten producer," said Chris Zahovskis, president and CEO.

"We look forward to the public consultation period as it marks one of the final steps in the provincial EIA process."

The construction of the project would include a tailings pond and ore processing plant.

St. Mary's raises concerns about review process

St. Mary's First Nation says the government's decision to accept the environmental impact assessment report is worrisome.

The Sisson mine project would be located 60 km North of Fredericton, near the surrounding communities of Stanley, Millville, Juniper and Napadogan. (Northcliff Resources Ltd.)
"Our concerns have not been addressed yet. And so by approving that, it's kind of left us wondering, why aren't our concerns being addressed?" said Candice Paul, chief of St. Mary's First Nation.

St. Mary's is concerned about the project's impact on the environment and aboriginal title.

The project would be built on 12.5 square km of Crown land, 60 km North of Fredericton near Napadogan. Northcliff is leasing the land from the province. 

A federal environmental review process is also underway, expected to be released this year.

The project requires approval from both levels of government.


Julianne Hazlewood is a multimedia journalist who's worked at CBC newsrooms across the country as a host, video journalist, reporter and producer. Have a story idea?