Nov 5, 2014
It's been three months since the largest tailings pond disaster in history occurred in Northern BC when the dam holding back the tailings pond for Imperial Metals' Mount Polley Mine gave way and sent 25 million cubic meters of mining waste surging through Hazeltine Creek and into Quesnel Lake; BC 's deepest freshwater lake and a major tributary of the Fraser River Watershed.
No charges or fines have been lain against Imperial Metals, pending an independent investigation due to release its findings early in the new year. Meanwhile, BC's Minister of Energy and Mines, the Hon. Bill Bennett, has introduced an amendment to the Mines Act that will grant the investigation as much as 3 years to bring forward any charges; shirking accountability for the biggest environmental disaster in modern Canadian history until after the next election cycle. To date the BC government has stonewalled attempts to access environmental assessments of Mount Polley mine dating as far back as 1992, citing a reluctance to compromise the integrity of their three investigations into the mine disaster as justification for breaking the Information Act. When Bennett's Ministry eventually did release some of the reports in question, it was revealed that staffing cuts had forced them to skip their inspection of the Mount Polley Mine in 2010 and 2011.