RCE Saskatchewan-2017

1. Project Title: 
RCE Saskatchewan and Community Collaboration for Potash Mine Engagement
2. Thematic area/s addressed by the project
3. Project partner contact information : 
RCE Saskatchewan Sustainable Infrastructure Working Group
Lead Organization
Main Contact: 
Dr. Garth Pickard
Dr. Garth Pickard
Co-coordinator, RCE Saskatchewan Sustainable Infrastructure Working Group
Alternative project contact: 
Dr. Roger Petry
Co-coordinator, RCE Saskatchewan
Dr. Raymond Abrosi
Co-coordinator, RCE Saskatchewan Sustainable Infrastructure Working Group
Thera Nordal
Havelock Special Projects Committee (HSPC)
Aura Lee MacPherson
Chair, Calling Lakes Ecomuseum
4. Project type
5. Project description
Provide a short description of the project including strategies, regional challenges, aims and specific project activities.: 

Beginning in 2016, RCE Saskatchewan was an observer at public consultations held by Yancoal Canada and community meetings throughout the region regarding a proposed solution potash mine: the Yancoal Southey Potash Project (Yancoal Project). RCE Saskatchewan worked extensively with the rural community of Havelock where the mine is to be located to frame to understand the proposal and how it adversely impacted the sustainability vision of the community. RCE Saskatchewan determined from (1) those discussions, (2) the collected concerns of various constituent groups; and, (3) a review of the mine's own Environmental Impact Study (EIS) that RCE Saskatchewan could play an important role in bringing attention to:

  1. The magnitude of the Yancoal Project warranting a far more complex Environmental Impact Assessment;
  2. The philosophical stance of the Yancoal Project with its understanding of what constitutes appropriate development being outdated; and,
  3. The Yancoal Project Environmental Impact Study not including inclusive research examining how the construction of the mine and its continued operation might affect the social and cultural aspects of the communities impacted including the potential loss of social capital and other cultural assets.

The RCE Saskatchewan submission to the Government of Saskatchewan on the Yancoal Southey Potash Project Environmental Impact Assessment and subsequent correspondence with the province brought to light extensive deficiencies and acted to bring natural and social science researchers and community members together while validating many local concerns. Upon the province's conditional acceptance of the EIS in August, 2016, RCE Saskatchewan subsequently sought an Environmental Impact Assessment by the Government of Canada. This request was subsequently denied in November, 2016. As part of its efforts to promote residents' concerns, RCE Saskatchewan in collaboration with the Havelock Special Projects Committee (HSPC) prepared a short video which was sent to the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, in September of 2016. In November, 2016, RCE Saskatchewan presented the case of its strategic involvement to the 5th RCE Conference of the Americas in Curitiba, Brazil where RCEs in the Americas realized mining was a common issue uniting the Americas. RCE Saskatchewan subsequently participated in meetings with Yancoal Canada and the local community in June, 2017, where Yancoal's new chairman acknowledged the flaws of the original EIS and its community engagement to date and promised a “restart” with the local community to address key concerns. From May to August of 2017, RCE Saskatchewan worked with members of the HSPC and the Calling Lakes Ecomuseum to co-author an extensive case study for publication by the UN University entitled “Community Knowledge Mobilization for Sustainable Development: Strategic Local Collaboration with Higher Education in Response to Proposed Potash Mine”. In addition, a member of the local Havelock community attended the 6th RCE Conference of the Americas in Vancouver in September, 2017, to tell first hand the story of the local community to RCE delegates.

6. Project status
On Going
RCE Saskatchewan had extensive correspondence with the Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment leading up to its conditional approval of the Yancoal Potash Mine in August, 2016. RCE Saskatchewan petitioned the Government of Canada to conduct its own Environmental Impact Assessment of the project. RCE Saskatchewan worked with the local community to develop a short video highlighting resident concerns to the Prime Minister of Canada in September, 2016. RCE Saskatchewan presented the case study to the 5th RCE Conference of the Americas in Curitiba in 2016 with an update to the 6th RCE Conference of the Americas in September, 2017. RCE Saskatchewan participated in a local meeting between Yancoal Canada and the community in June, 2017. Finally during the spring and summer of 2017 it co-authored an extensive case study for the UN University on the RCE's experiences and strategic interventions. RCE Saskatchewan will continue to work with the community as it seeks to engage the mining company in ways that ensure its vision of local and regional sustainable development in line with the UN SDGs.
8. Tagging