Discharge of mining waste in B.C. forces water ban

Discharge of mining waste in B.C. forces hundreds to stop using water

  • Aug. 5, 2014 8:00 a.m.

By The Canadian Press

QUESNEL, B.C. – Authorities say the equivalent of 2,000 Olympic swimming pools of mining waste has been discharged into waterways in British Columbia’s Cariboo region, forcing hundreds to stop using water in the area.

The tailings pond of the Mount Polley mine, about 140 kilometres southeast of Quesnel in northern B.C., was breached early Monday, forcing a water-use ban.

The Cariboo Regional District issued the advisory for the town of Likely and for residents around Quesnel Lake, Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek and Cariboo Creek.

The initial water-use ban affected about 300 people, but that number was likely to grow since the advisory was expanded to include residents along the nearby Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers.

The Quesnel River is linked to the Fraser River, one of B.C.’s main arteries, but authorities have not imposed a water-use ban on communities by the Fraser, saying it is unclear if contaminants have gone that far.

The Ministry of Environment of B.C. says the extent of the environmental damage is not yet clear and water in the area will be tested in the coming days.

The Cariboo Regional District has posted a video on YouTube showing the breach and a river completely covered in what appears to be light grey mining waste.

District chairman Al Richmond said search and rescue crews evacuated some campers in the Mount Polley area. But shelters were not provided for them, as they appear to have set up camp elsewhere.

Richmond says most of the waste appears to be contained in Hazeltine Creek, though some of the material flowed into Quesnel Lake and Polley Lake.

Mount Polley is an open pit copper and gold mine owned by the Imperial Metals Corporation (TSX:III). The company has been involved on the construction or operation of seven mines, the majority in British Columbia.

Requests for comment from Imperial were not immediately returned.

Tailings ponds are often large bodies of water containing waste water from mines, and have been known to contain poisonous materials such as arsenic and mercury.

Just Posted

Many teens unaware if they’re vaping nicotine or not

Health Canada survey finds many youth are unaware of the risks of using nicotine products

UVic partners with harm reduction groups to run a drug checking pilot project

The three-year pilot will allow people to test their drugs for fatal ingredients like fentanyl

Public asked to give feedback on proposed protection measures for southern resident orcas

Measures focus on key threats related to contaminants, lack of prey, noise or physical disturbance

Oak Bay double murder trial enters second week

Defence continues to question police handling of crime scene

Volunteers needed for annual Mother’s Day walk

Breast Cancer Society of Canada hosts annual Mother’s Day event

WATCH: Police call Happy Valley shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident

One person in custody, another fled following crash on Kelly Road

Wanted by Crime Stoppers

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Do you think the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris should be rebuilt?

Images of one of the word’s most iconic landmarks were seared into… Continue reading

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C.’s largest Vaisakhi festival target of threatening Facebook post: Surrey RCMP

Police say they are investigating the posts on Facebook, after local MLA forwarded screenshots

Pug life: B.C. town boasts waggish list of dog names

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered in White Rock

VIDEO: Duncan-Nanaimo’s Funkanometry bow out of ‘World of Dance’ with ‘After Hours’ routine

Judges praised them as entertainers, and urged them to work a bit more on their dancing

Most Read