Satellite image taken the day after Mount Polley mine tailings breach shows drained tailings dam and spill that backed into Polley Lake and down Hazeltine Creek to Quesnel Lake.

Mine dam inspections ordered across B.C.

Independent engineering inspections have been ordered for Mount Polley mine and nearly 100 other mine tailings ponds

Independent engineering inspections have been ordered for Mount Polley mine near Williams Lake and nearly 100 other mine tailings ponds with permits across the province, with reports to be complete by the end of January.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett announced the dual reviews Monday. The Mount Polley investigation is to be complete by Jan. 31 and will be done concurrently with the B.C. government’s legally required probes by B.C.’s chief inspector of mines and the environment ministry, which looks at the longer-term effects of the Aug. 4 tailings spill.

Bennett said costs will be covered by Imperial Metals for Mount Polley and by all operators of mines with permits to operate nearly 100 tailings facilities in B.C.

“Certainly in the last 40 years there’s no evidence of a tailings dam breach in British Columbia, but rare or not, it happened, and so the public’s confidence I think is shaken” Bennett said at a news conference in Vancouver. “That’s why we need to get these three experts involved as quickly as we’re getting them involved.”

The Mount Polley panel includes UBC mine engineering professor Dirk Van Zyl, U.S. consulting engineer Steven Vick, whose earlier investigations included the 2005 New Orleans levee breach that followed Hurricane Katrina, and Norbert Morgenstern, an Alberta civil engineering professor who has worked on 140 mine projects.

Bennett said the panel was chosen with approval of the Williams Lake and Soda Creek Indian Bands, and their report will be made available to the band councils at the same time as government.

Independent inspections of other mine tailings ponds must be completed Dec. 1, a change from the March 31 deadline for inspections that are required annually. Bennett said these inspections will each have to be reviewed by an independent geotechnical engineering firm.

 

Just Posted

Cook Street Marketplace closing after 32 years

Owner John de Jong says it’s time to pursue his love of music

Social media attack ads a ‘distraction from democracy’ says Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps

‘Elections are won on the doorstep. Elections are not won on Facebook,’ says incumbent mayor

Esquimalt votes for pay hike for incoming council

Mayor’s salary jumps 16 per cent, councillors by 10 per cent

Saanich endorses plan for food production on Panama Flats

Coun. Dean Murdock wants next council to follow through on idea

Langford mayor upset with province over homeless camp

Camp Namegans moved to Goldstream Provincial Park campground on Sept. 18

64 cats seized from ‘bad situation’ now in BC SPCA care

The surrender is part of an ongoing animal cruelty investigation with BC SPCA Special Constable

Woman who helped kidnap Elizabeth Smart released from prison

Smart was 14 years old when she was snatched from her Salt Lake City home in 2002 by street preacher Brian David Mitchell

New York books editor out after backlash over Jian Ghomeshi essay

Ian Buruma, who was appointed as editor of the New York Review of Books in late 2017, no longer works for the publication

B.C. couple plans sustainable, zero-waste life in the Shuswap

Plan includes building a tiny house before the snow flies

Housing slowdown forecast to cool B.C. economy

Conference Board says pipeline, trade uncertainty affecting investment

B.C. hockey product eyes shot at Olympic spot with China

Fletcher is one of 24 who travelled to Shenzhen, China for the first official Olympic dev camp.

Are you feeling lazy? That’s OK – it’s just science

UBC study shows that humans are hardwired to prefer being sloth-like

LETTER: Who do we blame for the tragedy of Marrisa Shen’s death?

The B.C. girl was killed in a Burnaby park last July

Competition tribunal to hear B.C.-based case on airline food starting in October

The competition commissioner argued Vancouver airport authority had exploited its market position

Most Read