August 24, 2019

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First Nation eyes quarry jobs

Hollow Water residents already applying to work at proposed silica sand quarry

Canadian Premium Sand wants to build a $110-million operation near Hollow Water that would create 100 jobs at the site, and an additional 50 jobs in trucking. (Supplied rendering)</p>

Canadian Premium Sand wants to build a $110-million operation near Hollow Water that would create 100 jobs at the site, and an additional 50 jobs in trucking. (Supplied rendering)

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/2/2019 (194 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A quarry to extract silica sand from land near Hollow Water has yet to be approved, but 200 people have already submitted job applications, the First Nation's chief said.

People are hungry for work, especially with the Bissett gold mine closed and the Tembec pulp and paper mill in Pine Falls gone.

"I'm very excited for my community and to see business increase," Hollow Water Chief Larry Barker said.

Canadian Premium Sand wants to build a $110-million operation near Hollow Water, about 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, that would create 100 jobs at the site, and an additional 50 jobs in trucking. If an environmental licence is approved, it could begin quarrying by the end of this year.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 11/2/2019 (194 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A quarry to extract silica sand from land near Hollow Water has yet to be approved, but 200 people have already submitted job applications, the First Nation's chief said.

People are hungry for work, especially with the Bissett gold mine closed and the Tembec pulp and paper mill in Pine Falls gone.

"I'm very excited for my community and to see business increase," Hollow Water Chief Larry Barker said.

Canadian Premium Sand wants to build a $110-million operation near Hollow Water, about 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, that would create 100 jobs at the site, and an additional 50 jobs in trucking. If an environmental licence is approved, it could begin quarrying by the end of this year.

The operation would have a payroll of $4.5 million per year. It would pay $10 million annually in direct taxes to the government, but that figure could multiply by as much as six from taxes on things such as salaries and supply purchases, company spokeswoman Bronwyn Weaver said.

The company has promised Hollow Water first crack at those jobs, along with the Métis communities of Manigotagan and Seymourville, and would run training programs for new employees. Experienced managers would initially run the operation and then give way to local people.

"They're going to train our people, and eventually we're going to be running it," Barker said.

Barker said the proposed project has been unfairly criticized. Extra truck traffic and health concerns about fine silica sand are two major concerns.

Hollow Water is not unfamiliar with silica sand operations. A quarry was operated off its shores on Black Island until the late 1980s. Barker worked there along with many elders in the community, and he said he has been assured health and safety measures would be vastly improved.

Barker said there would be spinoff business opportunities such as catering the company's facility, and additional workers would be needed to build the seven-kilometre road from the facility to Highway 304.

Hollow Water Chief Larry Barker said his community is excited about the proposed project and the jobs it would provide. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)</p>

Hollow Water Chief Larry Barker said his community is excited about the proposed project and the jobs it would provide. (Wayne Glowacki / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Canadian Premium Sand hopes it can help start some local businesses such as a tire-fixing shop and grocery store, by contracting them out or providing seed money.

Barker said the company has consulted with the First Nation for two years and has set up three committees, including one comprised of elders and a monitoring committee to ensure the quarry is run properly. It applied for an environmental licence in late December.

There are 2,600 active sand and gravel quarries in Manitoba. The largest quarry operation is near Stonewall, but there are a series of large quarries off Highway 59 on Garven Road.

The sand at Hollow Water is about two feet below a surface of soil and vegetation. The company would run a restoration program after areas are quarried.

Canadian Premium Sand would occupy 37 acres. Twelve acres would be quarried while the next site is prepared for quarrying and the previous quarried site is regenerated using the same overburden that was removed, and reforestation.

The company is willing to look at developing some food production in the regeneration area such as blueberries or wild rice production, Weaver said.

RM of Alexander Reeve Jack Brisco wants to relay concerns to the environmental review about the portion of Highway 304 west of Highway 11.

"It's a windy road," he said. "There's usually a death along that highway every year."

Brisco acknowledged the mine could bring many benefits.

"If they look after concerns on the highway and the silica dust, it's going to be a huge economic boost to the whole area," he said.

Ray Garand, who runs trucking operation Ray-Ann Transport Ltd. in Powerview-Pine Falls, said the sand quarry is the biggest thing to hit the area in perhaps decades.

Mines, such as the Bissett gold mine, "are up and down like a yo-yo," but the CPS quarry has the potential to be a steady employer for 50 years, he said. That's how long Canadian Premium Sand estimates the resource it staked can support mining.

bill.redekop@freepress.mb.ca

Bill Redekop

Bill Redekop
Rural Reporter

Bill Redekop has been covering rural issues since 2001.

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History

Updated on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 at 1:47 PM CST: Tweaks headline.

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