250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 28, 2017 1:05 am

Final Mt. Polley Report Will Not be Forwarded to Crown Counsel

Thursday, December 17, 2015 @ 2:04 PM

Prince George, B.C.- There will be no  charges  laid  for mining regulation  violations in relation to the  breach of the Mount Polley  tailings pond breach in August of 2014. 

Chief Inspector of Mines, Al Hoffman says there was no significant evidence to support  charges.

That’s not to say  Mount Polley ( which is  operated by Imperial Metals) is totally off the hook.   The Ministry of Environment’s investigation of the tailings  pond breach  is not yet  complete, and  depending on the findings of that  investigation,  charges  could still be possible.

In releasing the final report on the cause of the  breach,  Hoffman  says it was indeed  started by a slip of a layer of clay beneath the  tailing pond’s  foundation.   He says  the tailings pond  design  was “inadequate for its location”  and  even though  soil samples had been  taken, the  weak layer had not been detected saying there was an “Ongoing mistaken belief in the  foundation conditions”.  Hoff mans says in his report “The  company and the engineers had  opportunities to   review and characterize the foundation soils  but these opportunities were unnoticed, ignored  and or discounted.”

Hoffman says  even though  a mine hires a certified contractor  who  is a certified engineer,  “The responsibility lies with the mine and cannot be delegated” .

Hoffman’s report makes 19 recommendations, including calling for  mines to have a dedicated  mine dam safety manager.

Minister of Mines, Bill Bennett says  “Companies cannot  avoid  the ultimate responsibility for the things that happen, or don’t happen  on  a mine site by pointing at their engineers or by  pointing at their contractors.”

Bennett says  the collapse of the dam “May not have happened if the company and its engineers had followed  best practices and done more site investigation  both in the beginning  while the  tailings storage facility was being designed ( back in the mid 1990s)  and throughout the 20 years life of the mine.”


Another words what the province is saying, we don’t want to get involved in the line of contractual agreement. if you have a problem with the engineer and contractor, you deal with them separately. As mr. mine operator, you still need to do your due diligence. you hired these professional engineers, but you can not use them as your buffer between mine operator and crown. you can deal with them later.

I also understand that they want to build a secondary dyke between the existing and the creek, but ministry of environment is balking at that. is there another story out there?

Reads to me the government weaseling out of their responsibility. How would a mine safety manager have done anything different. He would just look at the information gathered by the contractor who one would expect would be the authority. Who inspects the mine safety manager?

If I hire a contractor to build a foundation for my house and the foundation fails, by Bennett’s weasel words the failure is my fault.

Babine Forest Products, Lakeland Mills and Mount Polly. What do they have in common?

Dumbfounded—have to agree with you.

If your dog craps in a BC park, you can be fined $100, but you can devastate an entire watershed and walk away scott free. I just don’t get it.

Devastated, have a look on Google earth. Seen more damage on the Salmon river during a spring flood.

While I see Imperial Metals owning some of the fault for this breach, I believe that Mr. Bennett and his Ministry should own up to the fact that for years now they have been negligent in inspections and routine oversight of the minig community. The government in its lax policies and enforcement allowed the mine to continue to operate while the tailings pond was exceeding capacity.
So, when sawmills and mines have had disasterous incidents there have been no charges laid because the govt itself would have to answer for their negligence alongside the corporations who were involved.

Water levels were normal in the tailings pond at the time of the breach

Dumbfounded:-“Babine Forest Products, Lakeland Mills and Mount Polly. What do they have in common?”
They’re all companies trying to stay in business in BC. Companies that each pay union wages and benefits to a fairly large workforce. Companies that enable a lot of other smaller businesses that provide goods and services to them to stay in business, and employ still more people. Companies that pay considerable amounts of money into the Provincial, Federal, and Municipal treasuries each year in a variety of ways. Companies whose ability to continue doing that is highly dependent on their successful efforts to get a price for their products in excess of its costs. A price that is not set by them, but by the markets they sell into. Companies whom some on here think their owners and managers should be lynched because of unfortunate accidents that occurred, and still might have occurred, even with the application of all the ‘hindsight’ knowledge that was not applied.

Comments for this article are closed.