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

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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stephanie Cadieux, recently re-elected as MLA for Surrey South, has been named BC Liberal Caucus Chair. (contributed photo)
Surrey South MLA Stephanie Cadieux named Liberal caucus chair

Longtime MLA confident BC Liberals will present an effective opposition

The 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Mammography machine, new to the Surrey Breast Health Clinic at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (submitted photo)
New 3D breast-cancer technology in Surrey ‘has already helped so many women’

Digital breast tomosynthesis new to Surrey Breast Health Clinic

Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘immediate’ government help for businesses shut down

‘Don’t punish all businesses for the sins of a few,’ CEO Anita Huberman says

Gurdawara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar in Surrey is warning the public of a possible COVID-19 exposure at the temple between Nov. 18 and 20. (Photo: Google Street View)
Surrey gurdwara warns of possible COVID-19 exposure

Facebook post says individual was at the temple Nov. 18 to 20

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature, Nov. 23, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C. daily COVID-19 cases hits record 941 on Tuesday

Further restrictions on indoor exercise take effect

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Police lights
Vancouver elementary school locked down after unknown man walks into classroom

Police arrested the man and sent him for a psych evaluation

Most Read