In the rocky shield of Lanark County, not far from the small town of Sharbot Lake, trouble is brewing. Underneath all of the rock, lakes, and forests, someone has noticed a substance whose potential to create energy makes it very valuable in today’s world: uranium.
This is a corner of the world that doesn’t normally get much attention, but these days its residents are stepping into the public eye and speaking out, in order to stop the proposed uranium mine from becoming a reality. There are fears that even the preliminary survey, with test drilling, has already brought contamination to the area.
Uranium mining is an intensive process. Because uranium ore is usually found in relatively small quantities, digging it out of the ground often requires an open pit mine, which is much more disruptive than an underground mine, to the environment and any habitats— human or otherwise— around it. Unfortunately, uranium is not found at very many places in the world, so there is likely to be some pressure to get this deposit out of the ground.
However, the local people have been staging protests and are garnering wide support in Ottawa and the surrounding Valley. One woman has been on a hunger strike since October 8th, demanding a moratorium on uranium mining in Eastern Ontario. On Labour Day weekend, a group of Ardoch and Sharbot Algonquin people, along with neighbours and supporters, paddled in canoes down the Mississippi watershed to Parliament Hill, in Ottawa, to make their voices heard.
It begs the question: Is nuclear power really the answer?