March 7, 2022 – Agriculture NB is alarmed by Bill-75, which includes an amendment to the Mining Act that would give prospectors leave to go on private or farm land without permission.
Agriculture NB was surprised to learn about this Bill through a journalist and not through regular communications with government representatives. The agricultural organizations and sector were not consulted prior to the 1st reading, 2nd reading, or Committee debate of this Bill and believe there has been a serious lack of due process.
The amendment has serious implications to farmers, as it negates the requirement for permission to enter private property, if a prospector is using hand tools or taking samples equivalent to 2 kilograms or 2 litres. If passed, permission would then only be required if prospectors intended to use heavy equipment. A prospector simply driving in fields, let alone tampering with soil and plants, can do significant damage to the crops and livelihoods of farmers.
The Mining Act does not specify any time of the day or season which prospectors may enter private or farmland, therefore prospectors can also cause exponentially more damage depending on the crop and time of year. The Mining Act also does not give any parameters of how many samples may be taken in one area.
Mining companies have often claimed they have little interest in mineral claims on cultivated land due to fertilizer and pesticide use, but New Brunswick farmers have indicated that this is not true and regularly have stakes or prospectors on their land, particularly in Charlotte County. Farmers have also raised concerns over the safety of prospectors themselves who are often unaware of agricultural practices and may be endangering themselves by coming into contact with pesticides, herbicides, or livestock.
The Department of Energy and Resource Development has failed to communicate the implications of Bill-75 to agricultural producers and the public, and Agriculture NB is dismayed by the lack of consultation and the repercussions for farmers. We demand that the Mining Act protect the rights of private landowners and farmers.
Agriculture NB is the formal collaboration of the National Farmers Union in New Brunswick, the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick and Really Local Harvest, to represent the New Brunswick agricultural sector at large.
Media contacts –
English: Suzanne Fournier, Executive Director NFU-NB – 506 260 0087
French: Christian Michaud, President AANB – 506 452 8101