Cochrane Hill

Reference Number

I am writing to provide input on the Cochrane Hill project.

I do not live in the immediate area of Cochrane Hill but I have a strong interest in the St. Mary’s River and Sherbrooke and surrounding area. I am a volunteer member of and director on the Board of the St. Mary’s River Association (SMRA). I also have a property on the St. Mary’s River and have been fortunate enough to enjoy the river and many activities associated with the river including fishing for salmon and trout, canoeing, kayaking and walking certain areas adjoining the river.

I am not opposed to responsible mining if it occurs in the right place.

My message is simple. It may be rural but the St. Mary’s River is not the right place for a gold mine and its associated risks. It is an absolute gem with a recovery strategy to improve salmon habitat. It is blessed with some species being reviewed under the Species at Risk Act. I am opposed to this particular project proceeding in any form near the St. Mary’s River and would urge that it NOT be approved at all. With respect, it would be irresponsible to allow this project to proceed.

I have a number of risk concerns:

1 The risk of a catastrophic event. Most watercourses on Cochrane Hill run directly or indirectly into the St. Mary’s River. The release of harmful waste or other toxic materials entering the river could cause irreparable damage to fish, birds, animals, plants and the river. A small bond (and most likely nor would any bond in any material amount) would not cure this after the fact.

2 According to Atlantic Gold’s project description the project would draw significant amounts of water for start-up (up to 500,000 cubic meters) and for daily operations (50,000 litres a day) from Archibald’s Lake, the river or both. I am very familiar with Archibald’s Lake and the river. With historical and current drought conditions and global warming the watershed cannot withstand any further reductions in water flows. The suggestion to draw water from these sources is simply outrageous.

3 Disturbing and exposing soil risks releases heavy metals, silts and toxic materials.  They could damage the river and associated life for years. I am especially concerned about acid mine drainage that could persist for years after Atlantic Gold has left Nova Scotia.

4 The project will require a huge tailings pond and left over waste rock and stockpiles. Atlantic Gold and so called modern mining CANNOT guarantee that spills, breaches or leaching will not happen. The 2014 breach at the Mount Polley mine in BC released toxic waste into rivers and lakes killing fish and damaging tourism. No bond can cure irreparable harm.

5 As already noted I believe a bond is insufficient and will not adequately address the risks.

The short term and few economic benefits of this proposed project do not justify the significant environmental risks.

The St. Mary’s is an area that should be treasured and preserved. On all the merits no one should approve any gold mining in a location along the St. Mary’s River.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

All of which is respectfully submitted.

Yours truly,


George H. Sutherland, Q.C.

Submitted by
George Sutherland
Public Notice
Date Submitted
2021-11-05 - 3:38 PM
Date modified: