The Issues

Why is this a bad deal for Springfield?

Here are just a couple things to think about:

  1. The terms of the “Draft” Development Agreement negotiated between the Mayor and Sio Silica was a rushed document and not vetted or examined by outside experts in the fields on behalf of Springfield’s interest.

    For example:
    – The amount of liability insurance or a Bond given the scope and size of the project was inadequate;
    – There was no requirement for core drills with recorded results to ensure the shale aquitard mantle will not collapse;
    – There was no requirement for monitoring wells, early warning systems and testing equipment needs to be installed downstream in the event of environmental incident and potential contamination of our water supply;
    – There was no comprehensive and realistic remediation plan or closure plan;
  2. There was no community consultation to address local concerns.
2021 pictures of Sio Test well conditions (printed with permission of the photographer)

The footprint of the Sio Sand project:

  • Area = 633 hectares for the processing site and the mining
    claims represent 90% of the overall size of Winnipeg.
  • Sio’s report of their footprint is 85,000 hectares (aprox.
    210,000 acres), greater than the area of Winnipeg;
  • Annually, there will be 450 large diameter wells drilled an
    average of 200 feet into our aquifer to access the fine silicate
    that filters our drinking water;
  • Over the projected 24 year timeline for the operation this
    equates to 10,000 extraction wells;
  • The wells are to be used as the conduit to slurry or flush the
    silicate out of the ground;
  • Over 1.36 million tonnes annually of this fine filtering silicate
    will be extracted from beneath the ground;
  • Raw water used in the process will become oxygenated, when
    exposed to the air, and when it is returned into the aquifer it
    will alter the makeup of the existing groundwater;
  • The large caverns created by the silicate extraction will cause
    the overlying limestone formation to collapse, leading to
    surface sink holes;
  • These sink holes will act as conduits of surface contamination
    to intrude the aquifer;
  • Once these sink holes occur, they are likely to fill with surface
    runoff water that could contain contaminants;
  • Drilling through the carbonate aquifer, then the shale aquitard
    (limestone layer), into the sandstone aquifer below introduces
    the risk of cross contamination via mixing of the two aquifers;
  • Sio’s proposed method of mining silicate has not been proven
    to be safe for the environment, and has not been done
    anywhere else in the world;
  • Sio Silica has not proven that this silicate has the high purity
    required for solar panel fabrication. Sio Silica has also stated
    that the silicate is very pure and will be used for “green type”
    development but all indications are that 100% of this product
    will likely be used for fracking oil and gas wells in Alberta and
    British Columbia. Each environmentally questionable fracking
    well will take up to 5,000 tonnes of silicate.