Community leaders, environmentalists, painters and award-winning folk singers all applauded the announcement by Ontario Mining Association member Vale to surrender portions of its aggregate license near Willisville, located south of Espanola. The subsequent result is that historic Willisville Mountain will be untouched by the company’s future operations in the area.
“Willisville Mountain is an area rich in beauty and even richer in history,” said Jon Treen, General Manager of Vale’s Ontario Operations. “It is an iconic landmark that should remain undisturbed and Vale is committed to the ongoing stewardship of the area.”
Vale and predecessor company Inco have operated a quarry in the area since the middle of the past century, which supplies silica to the nickel producer’s smelting operations in nearby Sudbury. “On behalf of the residents of Willisville, the LaCloche Mountains Preservation Society and their many supporters, I applaud Vale on their leadership and resolve to save the pristine wilderness,” said Jon Butler, President of the La Cloche Mountain Preservation Society and Willisville resident.
“This is a great example of co-operation between the company and its neighbours,” said Angie Robson, Manager of Corporate Affairs for Vale’s Ontario Operations. “It’s been a very positive experience working with the community and we’re happy that we’ve been able to act on their concerns in a way that benefits us all.”
This announcement by Vale to cede a portion of its aggregate license was made at the community centre in Whitefish Falls, just south of Willisville Mountain. A painting of the mountain by Group of Seven member Franklin Carmichael provided the backdrop for the conference. Also, on hand providing musical entertainment was singer, songwriter and record producer Ian Tamblyn.
Mr. Tamblyn, who is a Juno Award winner in the folk music category, produced the recording “Willisville Mountain,” which is a collection of songs about the area. “This is the first time in a career of preservation announcements that it is a good news story,” said Mr. Tamblyn. “It’s not a victory but a celebration on both sides about a really good decision.”
Ontario Minister of Natural Resources Linda Jeffrey was also at the ceremony to lend her support for this initiative.
Miners and mining companies are responsible, solution-providing partners in society. They do more than find, extract and process minerals essential to our modern lifestyles. These companies are economic enterprises operated by men and women who are members of society and community builders. They add great value to the quality of life in their communities and beyond.