Updates from the Municipal Silica Sand Advisory Committee

The members of the Municipal Silica Sand Advisory Committee (MSSAC), being the rural municipalities of Tache, Ste. Anne, La Broquerie, Hanover, Brokenhead, Reynolds, St. Clements, and the City of Steinbach, have met seven times since the MSSAC was formed in September 2021, to stay on top of the two proposals submitted by Sio Silica Corporation (formerly CanWhite Sands Corp.) for their processing facility and extraction process. The Provincial Environment Act Proposal processes are proceeding and the MSSAC has been actively engaging the province.

The MSSAC activities over the last few months include the following highlights (for activities from inception of MSSAC in September 2021, please see earlier posted Chronology of Activities):

  • On March 25, 2022, emailed the Participant Request Form to the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission for participation in the Public Hearing for the Vivian Silica Sand Extraction Project.
  • Received a letter from the Manitoba Clean Environment Commission on May 16, 2022, granting Participant Standing to the MSSAC.
  • On May 25, 2022, received a list of all contacts approved as Participants to date. This list will be updated as additional Participants are approved. From this point forward, any correspondence directed to/from Participants and the CEC must be shared with all Participants.
  • On June 24, 2022, emailed a letter to the CEC and all Participants requesting clarification on when the Hearings would be held (and suggested after Fall municipal elections) and when the report of the CEC technical advisors would be available.
  • In June and July 2022, received supplemental information from Sio Silica Corporation.
  • On July 7, 2022, received a letter from the CEC in response to the MSSAC letter dated June 24, 2022, stating that “the technical review report is in preparation and is expected to be available by early August. The members of the technical team will be provided on completion of the technical review.”
  • On July 19, 2022, received a letter from the CEC stating “The Clean Environment Commission technical advisors continue to work on the technical review that is expected to be available in early August. In the covering e-mail, the CEC also advised Participants that an in-person pre-hearing meeting is being scheduled in Winnipeg for August 16, 2022.
  • On August 5, 2022, the CEC issued an e-mail to all Participants advising that the in-person pre-hearing meeting scheduled in Winnipeg for August 16, 2022, will be postponed, and no new date was provided.
  • On August 19, 2022, received a letter from Jeff Wharton, Minister of Environment, Climate and Parks, dismissing the MSSAC appeal of the issuance of Environment Act Licence No. 3667 for the silica sand processing facility near Vivian, Manitoba.
  • On September 16, 2022, received a letter from the CEC advising that the Pre-Hearing Meeting with the Commission, Proponent and Participants is scheduled for October 4, 2022 at the RBC Winnipeg Convention Centre.
  • On September 26, 2022, the CEC distributed two technical review reports: one from geotechnical experts and one from hydrogeological experts, along with the CVs of the experts.
  • The Pre-Hearing Meeting on October 4 was restricted to process issues only and it set out the rules, procedures and the expected schedule going forward. The Hearing is tentatively scheduled to occur in late January/early February 2023.
  • Technical questions were compiled by KGS Group on the two technical reports prepared by the CEC independent experts, and submitted to the CEC on October 11, 2022.
  • On October 14, 2022, the CEC sent a letter to all participants acknowledging receipt of questions on the expert technical reports and stated “The Panel advises that the commission’s expert advisors are not a party to the process. They will provide testimony during the hearing and questions/clarifications can be requested by participants at that time.”
  • On October 14, DDWest submitted a Notice of Motion to the CEC. This motion was for: 1. An Order: a. directing Sio Silica Corporation (the “Proponent”) to file materials rectifying the material deficiencies in its application identified in the “Hydrogeology Technical Review” and “Geotechnical Technical Review” Reports a minimum of 60 days prior to the setting of dates for the Hearing; b. directing the Proponent to provide Participants with the Stantec Geotechnical Report a minimum of 60 days prior to the setting of dates for the Hearing.
  • On October 19, 2022, DDWest submitted a Brief to the CEC that supported the Notice of Motion filed on October 14, 2022.
  • On October 28, 2022, the CEC issued Sio Silica Corporation’s responses to all the Participant’s Notices of Motions.
  • On November 1, 2022, DDWest submitted a Reply to the CEC that responds to Sio’s response to the MSSAC Notion of Motion and Brief.
  • On November 3, 2022, the CEC advised the Participants that they decided to dismiss the Participant’s motions and that the reasons would follow within the next few weeks.
  • On November 8, 2022, DDWest submitted 26 Information Requests (IRs) to the CEC for Sio to respond to. These IRs were largely based on the questions that KGS Group originally prepared for the CEC technical experts.
  • On November 16, 2022, a four page letter was received from the CEC explaining why it dismissed the MSSAC Notice of Motion. Each Participant that filed a similar Notice of Motion received a similar letter.
  • On November 29, 2022, the CEC distributed to Participants the Sio Silica Corporation responses to the two reports submitted by the CEC technical experts.
  • On December 16, 2022, the CEC issued a letter to Participants advising that the deadline for Round 2 Information Requests has been extended by one week to January 10, 2023. Second round responses by Sio Silica will then be due January 24, 2023. Second round IRs are to be questions of clarification only on Round 1 responses, but any Participant can ask follow-up on any Round 1 response regardless of who asked the original question. The CEC also advised that the second pre-hearing meeting will still take place on January 19, 2023.
  • On December 16 and 19, 2022, Sio Silica Corporation issued their responses to the MSSAC Information Requests.
  • On December 19, 2022, the CEC confirmed the location and dates of the Hearing, as follows:

o At the Mennonite Heritage Village in Steinbach: February 27 through March 2, 2023, and March 6 through March 9, 2023.
o At Brokenhead River Community Hall in Beausejour: March 13 through March 16, 2023.

  • On December 19, 2023, the MSSAC held its ninth meeting since its inception in September 2021, together with re-elected or elected by acclamation (3) and newly elected Mayors/Reeves (5) of the eight member municipalities.

For information on the Environment Act Proposals and public comments, go to:

https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/eal/registries/6057canwhite/index.html (Processing Facility)

https://www.gov.mb.ca/sd/eal/registries/6119/index.html (Extraction Project)

For information on the CEC public hearing process, including the Hearing Directive, go to:


Mayors and Reeves of
R.M. of Brokenhead
R.M. of Hanover
R.M. of La Broquerie
R.M. of Reynolds
R.M. of Ste. Anne
R.M. of St. Clements
City of Steinbach
R.M. of Tache

December 20, 2022