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October 27, 2017 10:17 pm

Mt. Polley Approval A Week Ahead of Long Term Water Management Plan

Friday, June 24, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

Prince George, B.C. – With  the long term  water  management plan yet to be filed,  there are  questions about why Deputy Chief of Mines for B.C. Diane Howe  decided to issue  a permit for the mine to resume full production and use the tailings pond  which  breached  two years ago. 

The Mount Polley Mining Corporation has  one week left to submit a  long term water management plan.  Bennett says he supports the decision made by Diane Howe to  issue the permit  now, even though that  plan has  yet to be submitted, saying  there were some employment concerns “Advice that I’ve been given  that  Mount Polley Mining  Corporation is out of ore and  that essentially  they would have to send people home over the next  week. So on that basis, it’s my understanding and  on the  strength of the Committee’s recommendation ( to issue the permit)  that Government not arbitrarily  decide to delay for 7 days  and have people sent home, when the Committee that looked at this with all the professionals on it,  engineers and so forth  has recommended that it be  reopened.”

Howe says the decision was made following a lengthy ( 8 month) detailed review “The tailings facility is fully repaired and operational” noting  more than  2.5 million tonnes of material have been  put in place to “buttress” the facility.  She says there have been 8 inspections of the facility and  five separate site visits

“It was a very detailed process” says  Mines Minister Bill Bennett.  He said there have been a number of  test holes  drilled to  ensure the foundation  would not  slip.  The breach  of the tailings facility  in August of 2014 was blamed on the  facility’s foundation  being  placed on  an unknown  layer of clay.  That breach sent millions of cubic metres of  tailings and water  thundering down Hazeltine Creek into  Quesnel Lake.

So  why should the public trust that  everything is ok?  “I’m speculating obviously, I don’t know what public reaction will be to this” says Bennett “There will be some who will question if Government has done a good enough job and  that’s fair enough, We know that   our feet will be held to the fire, but we’ve had independent engineers  involved in this process all the way through,  the engineers from our own ministry,  we’ve had  engineers from the Ministry of Environment involved in it .  We’ve done all the  things the Independent Engineering Panel thought should be done.”

Until that long term  water management plan is  submitted and  approved ( approval could take several months),  the  short term plan, which  has the mine using  the Springer Pit and  a new  water treatment plant,  gives the company options to deal with  excess water until the  long term plan is approved.

“We do have more work to do” says Bennett “We are very deep into our response to this accident to make sure it can never happen  again. I do know the  return to full production  for this mine is going to be welcome news for the community.”



Bill you are so full of it. Foundation being placed on an unknown layer of clay. So was that the only known problem?

    Agreed, this disaster was a complete cluster f**k from the get go, just like the Babine Forest Products and Lakeland Mill explosions.

    This government continue to feed us chite and call it pudding… yet the mindless among us continue to eat it up asking; “can I have some more please?”

      Yup, you’re correct JGalt, this disaster was a complete cluster f**k from the get go, right from the very moment that the NDP first gave approval!

      Way to go, NDP!!

I know an NDP person who sold a car to a BC Liberal and he failed to maintain it and now he is walking.

    let’s elect the “No Damn Projects” Provincial NDP and then everybody will be walking. Can’t afford to drive if you haven’t got a job!

The tailings storage dam collapse was indeed unfortunate, however:
1) There are several natural landslides each year in BC that cause similar devastation. The Quesnel Lake is fine and in a few years nature will heal the effected area.
2) No human life was lost … so not a good comparison to the Babine and Lakeland explosions.
3) The mine has spent millions to repair and clean up the breach.
4) Copper is a commodity we all use and mining such as Mt Polley is the most common way it is obtained.

    Well said chip007, and 100% accurate!

    Speaking of copper, Mount Polley copper could very well be in the computers that we are all using, including those complaining about the mining of copper at Mount Polley!

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