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July 18, 1997
(Environment and Labour)


Minister's decision with respect to the Environmental Assessment of the exploration support works at Voisey's Bay The Minister of Environment and Labour, Oliver Langdon, issued his decision today with respect to the registration document received by Voisey's Bay Nickel to undertake Exploration Support Works in Labrador. The work entails the construction of a temporary road and airstrip at the site. The minister stated that the registration document has undergone a government and public review in accordance with the provincial Environmental Assessment Act. Based on the outcome of the review, the minister has decided to release the project from further assessment under the act. The company will however have to obtain the appropriate permits and meet the requirements of those permits.

The minister's decision comes on the heels of Judge Halley's ruling with respect to the authority of the Minister of Environment and Labour to accept a registration from Voisey's Bay Nickel Co. for exploration support work at Voisey's Bay. The ruling came as a result of a challenge to the minister's decision made by the Labrador Inuit Association and the Innu Nation. Judge Halley ruled that the minister's decision to accept the registration document falls within the jurisdiction of the department under the Provincial Environmental Assessment Act.

The decision of the minister to release the project from the act enables the company to proceed with their 1997 exploration program. Development of the overall mine/mill project is being assessed under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the two levels of government, the Labrador Inuit Association and the Innu Nation. Mr. Langdon stated that regardless of the Court's ruling, he hopes the parties to the MOU will continue to work together in the best interest of the province.

Contact: Sean Kelly, Director of Communications, (709) 729-2575.

1997 07 18 3:00 p.m.

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