EDITORIAL – Let us be warned

Tailing pond breach could happen on Vancouver island

The recent Mount Polley Mining tailing pond breach in Likely, B.C. should serve as a warning to all of us on Vancouver Island, none more so than those in charge of granting mining licences.

While media and political parties point the finger of blame this way and that, the bigger question is; who will pay for the cleanup?

Very likely, the majority of the bill will be footed by taxpayers.

Sure, Imperial Metals, which owns Mount Polley Mining Corp., is apt to be slapped with a hefty fine – some reports are suggesting amounts up to $1 million – but that would barely begin to cover the costs of reclaiming the waters, should they be deemed critically contaminated.

There was a comparable tailings pond breach in the state of Tennessee in 2008 (Kingston Fossil Plant). More than six years later, restoration efforts continue. Some estimates have the total costs of that cleanup to be in excess of $1.2 billion U.S.

So what does all this mean to Vancouver Island? Could it happen here?

The answer, of course, is yes. It could happen anywhere there are tailing ponds; and, as a byproduct of mines, there are tailing ponds on Vancouver Island.

The requests for exploratory site testing by mine companies is an ongoing issue with the various Island governances, Comox Valley Regional District included. In fact, in June, the CVRD submitted a letter to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, expressing concern over a proposed site testing by a mining company in the Woodhus Creek/Oyster River area and requested that “no coal licence be issued” to the company in question.

Consider it a proactive approach.

Some economists were undoubtedly crying foul over the decision, upset at the number of potential jobs being lost by such a request.

But it’s a far cry more economically sound than the reactive approach being incorporated in regards to the disaster in Likely, B.C.

Sometimes foresight is 20:20.

–Black Press

 

Just Posted

UVic students return from Hong Kong amidst growing tension

All eight University of Victoria exchange students have returned to Canada

65-million-year-old triceratops makes its debut in Victoria

Dino Lab Inc. is excavating the fossilized remains of a 65-million-year-old dinosaur

Victoria residents face long holds for non-emergency police calls

Victoria police face challenges ‘on many fronts’ since switching to E-Comm call centre

ICBC, province urge residents to plan ahead for winter weather

Greater Victoria should gear up and have a plan in place

VIDEO: ‘Climate emergency’ is Oxford’s 2019 Word of the Year

Other words on the shortlist included ‘extinction,’ ‘climate denial’ and ‘eco-anxiety’

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Nov. 19

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

POLL: Do you plan on making any purchases on Black Friday?

We’ve all seen the images. Shoppers rioting outside of a store in… Continue reading

Canucks erupt with 5 power-play goals in win over Nashville

Vancouver ends three-game slide with 6-3 triumph over Predators

Nanaimo man caught with more than 200,000 child porn images to be sentenced

Crown says Aaron Macrae recorded video of children on buses and at his workplace

Vancouver Island hunters may have harvested deer in area known for chronic wasting disease

Conservation officers make urgent request to public for any information

B.C. widow suing health authority after ‘untreatable’ superbug killed her husband

New Public Agency Health report puts Canadian death toll at 5,400 in 2018

Changes to B.C. building code address secondary suites, energy efficiency

Housing Minister Selina Robinson says the changes will help create more affordable housing

Most Read