Company admitted it breached federal and provincial environmental laws
The subsidiary of an Australian gold mining company has pleaded guilty to federal and provincial environmental charges relating to its gold mining operations on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore.
Lawyers for the federal and provincial Crown, along with a lawyer for Atlantic Mining N.S. Inc., were in Nova Scotia provincial court in Dartmouth Thursday to make sentencing arguments.
The company was originally charged with more than 32 offences but negotiations over the past year have reduced that number to two.
The company has admitted it breached both federal and provincial environmental laws by failing to properly test for the level of sediments in water that could be hazardous to fish habitat. It also failed to regularly report findings to government as required.
In an agreed statement of facts entered into the record, the company acknowledged responsibility and expressed regret but also pointed out that there was no evidence that fish were actually harmed by these offences, which occurred between February 2018 and May 2020.
The two Crown prosecutors are proposing Atlantic Gold be fined around $5,000 and be assessed an additional monetary penalty totalling about $250,000.
The agreement calls for the money from the monetary penalties to be distributed to two organizations, the Mi’kmaq Conservation Group (Netukulimk) and the Unama’ki Institute of Natural Resources.
Judge Alanna Murphy told the lawyers she needs time to consider the appropriate sentence and she will deliver her decision next week.
Atlantic Mining is a subsidiary of Australia mining company St. Barbara Limited.