Marathon Platinum Group Metals and Copper Mine Project
Project information about this environmental assessment.
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On November 30, 2022, the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks gave approval to proceed with this project under the Environmental Assessment Act, subject to conditions.
Get details on the Order in Council and Notice of Approval.
The purpose of the project is to develop an open pit mine to extract ore containing copper and platinum group metals including gold, platinum and palladium from a site about 10 kilometres north of the Town of Marathon.
Learn more on the Generation PGM Inc. website.
Generation PGM Inc. (previously Stillwater Canada Inc.)
The proposed mining development is to be located about 10 km north of the Town of Marathon. The Town of Marathon is adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 17) on the northeast shore of Lake Superior, approximately 300 km east of the City of Thunder Bay.
May Lyn Trudelle, Environmental Assessment Branch
Environmental assessment decision: Approved
Joint Review Panel report: submitted
Date submitted: August 2, 2022
Decision date: November 30, 2022
Amending order to the 2011 harmonization order: approved
Posted on public comments: October 12, 2022
Expiry of public comment period: November 11, 2022
Decision date: November 30, 2022
Environment impact statement: submitted
Date submitted: June 29, 2012
Expiry of public comment period: October 26, 2012
Environmental impact statement guidelines: issued
Expiry of public comment period: May 24, 2011
Decision date: August 9, 2011
Harmonization order, joint review panel agreement and terms of reference: signed
Expiry of public comment period: May 9, 2011
Decision date: August 8, 2011
Voluntary Agreement: signed
Date submitted: March 3, 2011
Decision date: March 23, 2011
Environmental assessment process (Joint Review Panel process)
The Joint Review Panel (JRP) process for the Marathon Palladium Project (previously known as the Marathon Platinum Group Metals and Copper Project) was the first harmonized environmental assessment (EA) process in Ontario with Canada. One EA process, in this case the Joint Review Panel process, integrates both federal and provincial assessment requirements.
The JRP process allowed for careful study and a single, comprehensive assessment of both the benefits and possible impacts of the project before any decisions were made by Canada and Ontario.
The JRP had a mandate under both the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012 and the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act to consider whether the project is likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects.
Stillwater Canada Inc. (Stillwater) submitted an environmental impact statement (EIS) to the JRP in July 2012. The JRP conducted its review of the EIS between 2012 and 2014, at which time the JRP process was placed on hold at the request of Stillwater.
Generation PGM Inc., acting as the proponent under a joint venture agreement with Stillwater requested to restart the JRP process in 2020.
The JRP was re-established on November 16, 2020.
The JRP Agreement between Canada and Ontario was also amended following the consideration of comments received from the public and Indigenous groups. The amended JRP agreement and terms of reference were signed by the federal and provincial Ministers of the Environment in January 2021.
On April 19, 2021, the JRP process timelines resumed with Generation PGM Inc. responding to the outstanding information requests from the former JRP and the submission of its environmental impact statement (EIS) addendum report to the new JRP.
The JRP invited public comments on the EIS addendum and the potential environmental effects of the proposed Marathon Palladium Project from April 19, 2021, until July 26, 2021. During its review of the EIS addendum, the JRP determined that additional information was required and sent seven packages of information requests to Generation PGM. Generation PGM responded to all these requests. The JRP determined on December 7, 2021, that the information provided was sufficient to proceed to a public hearing.
The public hearing started on March 14, 2022 and formally concluded on May 19, 2022, with the JRP closing the public record.
The JRP submitted its report to the provincial and federal Ministers of the Environment on August 2, 2022. The JRP’s report was used to inform Canada’s and Ontario’s decision-making processes.
On November 30, 2022 the Minister of the Environment, Conservation and Parks, with Cabinet concurrence, granted approval to proceed with the project, subject to conditions.
Read the Order in Council and Notice of Approval.
Federal environmental impact statement guidelines
The federal environmental impact statement (EIS) guidelines are issued by the federal Minister of the Environment and serve the purpose of setting out the scope and factors to be considered by a proponent when it prepares its EIS of its proposed project.
The EIS guidelines document for this project was developed by the (then) Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency in collaboration with the (then) Ontario Ministry of the Environment (ministry), to incorporate requirements under both provincial and federal legislation. The draft EIS guidelines were posted on the Canadian Environmental Assessment Registry for public comment between March 25, 2011 and May 24, 2011, and the document was finalized taking into consideration comments received from the public and Indigenous groups.
The EIS guidelines incorporate key provisions of the Ontario Environmental Assessment Act and include specific requirements by the ministry and other provincial ministries.
Specifically, the EIS guidelines indicate that the proponent’s EIS must:
- consider and evaluate alternatives
- document consultation activities
- identify the project’s possible environmental effects (including natural, social and economic)
- propose measures to mitigate adverse effects
- assess the significance of any adverse environmental effects after mitigation measures are implemented
Minister’s harmonization order and Joint Review Panel agreement (2011)
On October 7, 2010, Canada’s Minister of Environment referred the Marathon Palladium Project to a review panel due to potential environmental concerns. A review panel is a rigorous and transparent federal review process, appropriate for projects with the greatest potential for significant adverse environmental impacts.
On March 23, 2011, Stillwater Canada Inc. (Stillwater) entered into a voluntary agreement with the Ontario Minister of the Environment to make the proposed project subject to the requirements of the Environmental Assessment Act. Federally, the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act applied to the project at the time.
On October 7, 2010, Canada’s Environment Minister referred the Marathon Palladium Project to a review panel due to potential environmental concerns. A review panel is a rigorous and transparent federal review process, appropriate for projects with the greatest potential for significant adverse environmental impacts.
To enable the coordination of federal and provincial environmental assessment requirements, Ontario entered into a project-specific agreement with the federal government to establish a Joint Review Panel for the review and assessment of the proposed project. The Joint Review Panel agreement includes the terms of reference that sets out the mandate for the JRP as well as the process to be followed.
The Ontario Minister of the Environment issued an order under subsection 3.1 (2) of the Environmental Assessment Act on August 8, 2011, to harmonize the provincial assessment requirements with those under federal legislation. An amending order was issued on November 30, 2022 to reflect amendments made to the Environmental Assessment Act by Bill 197 (COVID-19 Economic Recovery Act, 2020) and the More Homes, More Choice Act, 2019.
Joint Review Panel
On August 9, 2011, three panel members were appointed to the JRP by the federal Minister of the Environment, in consultation with the Ontario Minister of the Environment. The panel members were selected based on their knowledge of federal and provincial environmental assessment processes, mining activities and the potential environmental effects of the project. The panel was disbanded in 2014 after the JRP process was placed on hold at the request of Stillwater. The federal Minister of the Environment re-established a new JRP on November 16, 2020. The three members of the re-established JRP were agreed upon by both Canada and Ontario.