250 News - Your News, Your Views, Now

October 27, 2017 9:45 pm

Water Concerns Remain Two Years on from Mt. Polley Breach

Thursday, August 4, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

Likely, B.C. – It was exactly two years ago today British Columbia suffered one of its most devastating environmental disasters – the tailings pond breach at Mt Polley Mine in Likely.

On August 4, 2014, a partial breach of the tailings pond dam sent millions of cubic metres of water and sludge into lakes, rivers and creeks in the area.

A lot has happened since – the most notable being the Province’s decision to issue a permit to allow the mine to return to full production in June.

But how is life today for residents who continue to live in the area?

“Well it’s returned too normal for the most part but the residents of Likely still have concerns, a lot of concerns, with respect to water quality,” says Cariboo Regional District Chair Al Richmond. “In particular they’re concerned about sediment that’s on the bottom of the lake and would like answers as to what the long-terms impacts will be.”

He says a lot of the concern centers around the discharge of the treated water coming from the mine operation down in Hazeltine Creek and being discharged into Quesnel Lake.

“They continue to work actively as do we with the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Mines to bring forward those concerns to the government and to the mining company (Imperial Metals) to try and find some resolve and provide the community with some assurances.”

Richmond says the mine has been doing its part to mitigate those concerns though.

“I suggest you go down and look at the work that this group of miners did to restore Hazeltine Creek as best they could to save fish habitat. There’s more work to be done but if you were to see a before and after photo of the work done – in excess of $62 million has been spent on restoration so the mine has stepped up.”

Despite all the work the company has done he says concerns remain about the future of the salmon run.

“We have been lobbying the Province and the federal government to look at some programs for the research station operated by UNBC at the mouth of the Quesnel River to use that for at least a couple of fish cycles and salmon to determine what the impacts may or may not be on the salmon run.”

He says another important sector for the local economy – tourism – seems to have bounced back.

“Indicators from our tourism association is that tourists have returned and there’s efforts being put forth by the Province to support advertising the area and showcasing the area,” says Richmond. “It’s still open for tourism, it’s a great place to go.”

Above all, Richmond says locals seem pleased the mine, a major employer in the area, has returned to full production.

“For the most part people are supportive of the mine continuing to operate and see it back in operation.”



The last part of the article is in dispute, other articles from other media sources claim that two year on from the disaster and the locals are deeply divided about the outcomes and current situation from the tailings pond disaster.

2 years on and is also the situation; “Opposition New Democrat mines critic Doug Donaldson said much time has passed and yet nobody has been held accountable for the Mount Polley breach.” www .citynews.ca/2016/08/03/mount-polley-mine-disaster-hits-2-year-mark-fallout-still-causes-divisions/

Huh, 2 years since the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond disaster and no one has been held accountable, reminds me of two sawmill explosions, no one has been held accountable for those as well. At least this Christy Clark Liberal government is taking a consistent approach when it comes to industry disasters in BC.

    Who would you hold ‘accountable’ if the mine had somehow been able to foresee this impending disaster and announced it was closing and everyone who worked there would be laid off until somebody, somewhere, could come up with a fail-safe solution and every agency of government concerned completely agreed with it?

    Who would be ‘accountable’ for all the lost earnings of all the workers affected while the years went by as the ‘perfect’ solution was developed and met complete approval from government? Who would be ‘accountable’ when they fell behind on their mortgage payments, and lost their homes, etc.?

    We don’t live in a ‘perfect’ world. Never have, and never will. Look at some of the environmental disasters in Soviet Russia and Communist China if you still think that companies put profit before people. Those countries both outlawed profit under their Marxist ideology. Were they any the better off environmentally or in terms of workplace safety for it? Not from any of the evidence I’ve seen. But then they can always take the guy managing the place out and shoot him, or worse, and that makes everyone feel better, I suppose. Of course they might’ve done the same thing if he’d failed to meet his quota, or however they managed things under that set-up. And maybe the workers, too.

“in excess of $62 million has been spent on restoration so the mine has stepped up.”
Whats your version of ‘accountable’?

The owner of this mine a billionaire, pays no royalties no clean up costs and no hydro costs so he can run his operation, this was THE LARGEST tailing pond failure in north America with continuing approvals over the years to keep increasing the size of the pond, all under the liberal watch, your hydro bills are up 47% in five years and are going up again your, the MSP. will go up 2x the inflation rate along with ICBC. with all these extra fee increases we should have our billionaire money woes sorted out in no time, surely there are more claw backs to the disabled to be had right?? death benefit claw backs are also stowed safely away in general revenue… 885 million in 35 days from property transfer taxes and still there is no money for anything other than big industry and site c and of course our own dead horse of LNG
So liberal MLA”s can go back to your UNLIMITED expense accounts and the rest of will wonder how to pay for the next round of increases coming our way I have given up on accountability from the Liberal Govt. it is only expected from the NDP it seems

    The owner of this mine a billionaire, pays no royalties no clean up costs and no hydro costs so he can run his operation-Facts please

    hydro rates increasing to pay for the expensive power Hydro is forced to buy from IPP’s and bird shredders. Also Hydro is forced to pay a dividend to the fiberals and is borrowing money to pay that dividend. More hidden tax we are paying.

      Thumbs down, anyone care to clarify their position?

    Thumbs up to this tripe, more irrational environmental emotionalism dogma.

    Are you on glue thedogs? Imperial pays no hydro or royalties? You and Ataloss should have a solar wiener roast and plan your next stupid post.

“pays no royalties no clean up costs and no hydro costs so he can run his operation”

I kind of stopped reading when your opening sentence is such complete and utter BS.

With the environmental tree huggers out there, who is supposed to pay for the medical, highways, schools, and all the other social programs if there is not operations like Mt. Polley mine? I understand the need for environmental protection but we need jobs, high paying jobs. All the left does is whine and complain about industry. Without industry there is no economy. Are the Liberals perfect? NO, but they are a hell of a lot better than the opposition.

High Valley Copper and Gold mine between Merrit and Cash Creek has a tailing pond that is 11km long, which is the biggest tailing pond in North America.

All that holds it back from destroying the South Thompson and Fraser rivers is a dam made of compacted silt sand. It grows in height by three meters a year and is currently as high as a sixty story building. When this dam fails the ecology of everything down river to the Georgia Straight will be destroyed.


The parent company is one of the largest political donors in BC.


I think in BC corporations, unions, and NGO’ should be banned from making political donations for the short term politicians. Only citizens of BC should be allowed to contribute to the financing of politics in our province.

    I hope you also include quasi political enviromental groups in your NGO GROUPING.

      You bet seamutt. If it isn’t a bipedal with a social security number that can legally vote, then they have no business donating to influence politics directly. Be it a corporation, a union, a foreign citizen, or any other organization or group that is not an individual citizen.

      We can all agree I am sure that everyone should enjoy free speech, but the limit is when a none citizen uses money to influence the sovereign political process directly.

Comments for this article are closed.