Brazilian-owned mining company Vale has agreed to cede a portion of its land rights near Willisville Mountain, following a campaign by area residents to prevent mining of the mountain.
The company made the announcement on April 15 at the Whitefish Falls Community Centre with Natural Resources Minister Linda Jeffery in attendance.
Willisville, located in the foothills of the LaCloche Mountains southwest of Sudbury, is a popular hiking area for tourists, and was a frequent haunt of the Group of Seven artists.
It is also home to Vale's Lawson Quarry, for which the company has held quarrying rights since 1914.
Vale representatives had previously said that the Lawson Quarry contained 80 years' worth of silica, which would last longer than the estimated ore reserves in the Sudbury basin.
After learning last spring that Vale had begun clearing the area and intended to set up a crusher to process surplus stores of aggregate, a group of residents led by local artist Jon Butler started a Save Willisville Mountain petition, garnering more than 1,200 signatures.
The petition requested that, to protect the culturally and historically significant area, portions of land under Vale's aggregate licence be surrendered to prevent any future mining or quarrying of the area.
At a public meeting last summer, Vale representatives heard concerns of the public and assured the residents the company would take their request into consideration.