An environmentally contentious mineral exploration program in the Sudbury area will be allowed to proceed as early as next year.
Junior miner Flag Resources (1985) Ltd., a holder of mining leases in the Wolf Lake region, was issued a mineral exploration permit with no conditions attached by the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines on Halloween.
The permit will allow Flag to perform exploration drilling to assess mineral resource potential in the Township of Mackelcan, about 47 kilometres northeast of Sudbury.
The junior miner's permit application, which was posted to the Environmental Registry of Ontario during the consultation period this fall, was subject to heavy opposition.
Local activist groups, including the Wolf Lake Coalition and the Friends of Temagami who have been opposing mining activity in the region for decades, left comments asking the government to permanently protect the Wolf Lake Forest Reserve.
"Please protect Wolf Lake [sic] old growth red pine forest--the world's biggest remaining old growth red pine forest--by not allowing further mining exploration," wrote one commenter. "Disturbance and debris still remain from past mining exploration activity of the company."
Flag Resources has a long history at Wolf lake. They've held mining leases in the area since the 1980s when a number of companies were performing exploration in and around the Temagami anomaly.
The Temagami anomaly is a magnetic anomaly resulting from a buried geologic structure believed to be related to the Sudbury Igneous Complex. It stretches from Lake Wahnapitae to Bear Island, and is roughly 58 kilometres long and 19 kilometres wide.
In 1990, Falconbridge staked roughly 1,500 claims around the structure, but eventually, interest in the area died down.
In 1999, as part of the Harris government's Lands for Life planning process, the Wolf Lake region was designated an official forest reserve, which means it was protected against forestry but not mining exploration.
The forest reserve is within, but currently not a part of, the Chiniguchi Waterway Provincial Park. If you look at a map of the waterway, the Wolf Lake forest reserve looks like a missing link in the park area.
Activist groups were under the impression that once the mining claims and leases in the area lapsed, the forest reserve would become a part of the park. As far as they knew, Flag Resources had "gone under" and was a defunct company that was not active on the land, according to...