Wednesday, August 15, 2012


*not* a simple 'gravel quarry'!

What I'm talking about here is the Melancthon Quarry.
The 'Mega Quarry'. The frackin' huge hole that is going to be blasted in just 10 kilometres south of Wareham. The open pit mine that is going to blow up the whole thickness of the Niagara Escarpment limestone that runs under my home area. The huge operation that will force me to dance around road train transports when I try to drive out of here to the east or south.

Both sides of this are resorting to distortions and half truth. The official company web site is perhaps more significant for what it does NOT say, than for what it does...

So - just what is this open pit mine going to look like?

Comparison : Marmora Iron Mine
The image above is a composite of the open pit iron mine outside Marmora Ontario (web site).
Click to open the image up, a better assessment can be had looking at it at the full image size of roughly 8 x 40 inches.

The open pit at Marmora is 75 acres / 30 hectares in size.
Visible depth (above water) estimated at about 100 feet
"Total mine production: 1.3 million tons of iron ore / 3.5 million tons of waste rock."
To keep the hole dry, 666,666 gallons per day need to be pumped out.
Operations stopped in 1979.
The total depth is 540 feet - so most of the pit is under water, now that the mine has been abandoned by the company.

So - how does the the image above compare to what is going to happen at Melancthon?

(Data from the official web site)

The open pits at Melancthon will total 1840 acres / 765 hectares.
Operation depth will average 186 feet / 56 metres (greatest at 261 feet / 80 metres)
Total estimated mine production: 1 billion tonnes
To keep the hole dry, 13,198,154 gallons per day need to be pumped out.

Compare the image of the hole above, with the intended operation in Melancthon:

80 times the size
Twice the visible depth (three times at the deepest)
At least 200 times the material to be removed
Twice the daily amount of water to be pumped

The most rational voice on the side opposing this open pit mine is the North Dufferin Agricultural and Community Task Force.

Some examples of the double speak and vague information being provided by the Highland Companies:

1) They emphasize that 'only 120 acres will be actively quarried at any one time'.
This hardly changes the size of the holes being left behind as they proceed.

2) They emphasize that the 'average depth is 56 metres, with a minimum at 30 and maximum at 80'. Note that '56' is a straight math average. How much of the total excavation depth is actually going to be at that average?

3) They don't actually give the yearly estimate on production. They do emphasize the total aggregate requirements for all of the Golden Horseshoe area - as if this operation was the only one in existence in Ontario. (How have we been managing the requirements to date?)

4) That water needs to be pumped *forever*. Exactly how is this company going to remain accountable for this expense?

My favorite example of the Highland Companies misinformation is this statement:
" Dufferin Country Road 124 is currently designated by MTO as a “truck haul route” and is therefore an appropriate route to transport aggregate."
 The company does not actually give a number for the indicated truck traffic. 
Voices in opposition estimate that one double length 'road train' tractor trailer unit will be required *every 50 seconds* down DCR 124.
This road is closed so often due to white outs from blowing snow that it has permanently mounted barriers placed at either end (brackets the open pit site).
The road that ends in near by Shelburne, and then dumps into Highway 89 then Highway 10? You know, the Highway 10 that runs right through Orangeville and Brampton?

We are being so screwed...

1 comment:

Yvette said...

Wow... I looked around a bit ago for some straight info on this.... and what you have put together is by far better then anything I have seen... Thanks for ALL your hard searching...


February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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