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Silica sand mine project to bring hundreds of jobs to Selkirk

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A silica sand project near Hollow Water First Nation is moving forward, leading to hundreds of new jobs.

The Kinew government dismissed a regulatory appeal against the plans, which has already been granted an environmental license.

Canadian Premium Sand (CPS) wants to mine the sand and make glass used for solar panels in Selkirk.

"We're here today to say yes to CPS," said Premier Wab Kinew at a news conference Wednesday.

"Our government know protecting the environment and growing the economy can happen at the same time," said Environment Minister Tracy Schmidt.

The sand would be extracted near Hollow Water and Seymourville to make 800 tonnes of glass per day.

A manufacturing plant to produce the glass will rise in an industrial area in Selkirk. The province said this will be the only low carbon solar glass facility of its kind in North America.

"Right now, solar glass is often produced in countries whose electricity is generated by coal. We can beat them in the open market," said Kinew.

The province notes this will create 250 jobs in Selkirk, 30 in Hollow Water and another 600 to 700 in construction.

"The results that are going to come out of this are going to be so beneficial to all," said Selkirk Mayor Larry Johannson.

Hollow Water First Nation and Seymourville also have agreements in place with Canadian Premium Sand which includes environmental oversight and possibly sharing revenue.

But the project has faced opposition from area residents and environmental advocates.

"Kids play where they're going to mine," said MJ McCarron with Camp Morning Star.

Camp Morning Star filed the appeal over health and safety concerns with the plans.

"We have four cottage developments that are going to be right next to a mine. We have three communities right next to a mine."

The Kinew government said it took its time to review the appeal, while consulting experts. The premier said the plans include remediation work.

"We're confident that with the support of local communities that this is a mining project that we can do right," said Kinew.

The province said shovels could be in the ground for the mine in the summer and for the Selkirk plant next year.

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