Aerial photo shows work to contain Mount Polley tailings after dam breach at the mine near Williams Lake Aug. 4.

Opposition demands Mount Polley reports

Environment Minister Mary Polak says inspection results stay under wraps until mine tailings spill investigations are complete

VICTORIA – The B.C. government released its latest water test results from the Mount Polley mine spill area Thursday, but refused a demand by opposition politicians to release inspection reports on the mine and tailings dam that collapsed Aug. 4.

Environment Minister Mary Polak said the water results showed “slightly” elevated levels of aluminum and copper in water samples from Quesnel Lake, but water remains safe to drink in the area affected by the plume of tailings in the lake.

Polak said all information related to health and safety of area residents has been made public, but she is complying with a request from investigators not to release inspection reports until multiple investigations are complete.

Polak released an Oct. 6 letter from B.C. Chief Inspector of Mines Al Hoffman, who is supervising one investigation of the dam failure. Hoffman said mine experts are examining “all documents relating to the history, design, construction, operation and maintenance of the tailings facility” and have interviewed more than 50 people.

“I share the concern with the Ministry of Justice that the public release of information related to the tailings facility at Mount Polley may impact investigations by tainting evidence of persons yet to be interviewed or re-interviewed,” Hoffman wrote.

Imperial Metals issued a statement last week in response to a Vancouver newspaper report that a 2010 inspection report described a crack found in the Mount Polley dam.

The crack was 900 metres away from the area of the August breach, and “was thought to be associated with localized settlement of loosely compacted material along the downstream slope of the embankment,” the company said.

NDP energy and mines critic Norm Macdonald referred to reduced inspections at a coal mine in the Kootenays, and a memo from a ministry official in 2010 warning of the risks of reducing mine inspections.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett maintains that annual inspections of Mount Polley and other mines with tailings ponds were not reduced, although other inspections were less frequent.

 

Just Posted

Proposals due for youth-led Boundary projects

$15,000 available for youth-led community betterment projects in the Boundary

Latest round of Columbia River Treaty talks wrap up in Cranbrook

Federal, provincial, U.S. and Indigenous representatives recently met for eight round of discussions

Cannabis beverages to be bottled in Bridesville

Vancouver-based BevCanna also plans on growing cannabis nearby

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

People’s Party candidate in South Okanagan-West Kootenay steps forward

Taylor talks about PPC platforms on economics, immigration and climate change

VIDEO: Vancouver Island mayor details emergency response after fatal bus crash

Sharie Minions says she is ‘appalled’ by condition of road where bus crashed

Federal party leaders address gun violence after weekend shooting near Toronto

One teen was killed and five people injured in the shooting

Conservatives promise tax cut that they say will address Liberal increases

Scheer says the cut would apply to the lowest income bracket

B.C. VIEWS: Cutting wood waste produces some bleeding

Value-added industry slowly grows as big sawmills close

Fewer trees, higher costs blamed for devastating downturn in B.C. forestry

Some say the high cost of logs is the major cause of the industry’s decline in B.C.

Federal food safety watchdog says batch of baby formula recalled

The agency says it’s conducting a food safety investigation

UVic president offers condolences after two students killed in bus crash

‘We also grieve with those closest to these members of our campus community,’ Cassels says

Coming Home: B.C. fire chief and disaster dog return from hurricane-ravaged Bahamas

The pair spent roughly one week on Great Abaco Island assisting in relief efforts

Most Read