Imperial Metals agrees to First Nation tailings review – by James Keller (Canadian – August 27, 2014)

The company behind the Mount Polley tailings dam breach will pay for an independent engineer to review the tailings facility at its Red Chris mine

VANCOUVER— The Canadian Press – A  British Columbia company behind a mine tailings spill has signed an agreement with a First Nation that will see an independent engineering firm review a tailings facility at a separate project.

The agreement between Imperial Metals Corp. and the Tahltan Central Council ends a blockade of the company’s Red Chris gold and copper mine, where workers had been prevented from entering by a group of Tahltan elders for more than two weeks.

The tailings dam at Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine in central B.C. failed earlier this month, releasing millions of cubic metres of waste water and silt into several lakes and rivers. The spill raised concerns about the potential impact on humans and the environment, placing the company and the entire mining industry under increased scrutiny.

Several days later, a group of Tahltan elders known as the Klabona Keepers established a blockade of the Red Chris site, which is located in northwestern B.C. and expected to open by the end of the year.

Imperial Metals issued a news released announcing that it would pay for an independent engineer, selected by the Tahltan Central Council, to review the tailings facility for the Red Chris mine and report back by Sept. 24.

The company has agreed to address any issues identified in the review “to the reasonable satisfaction” of the central council.

Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch acknowledged that the Mount Polley spill has affected the company’s entire operations.

“We’re having to work with our neighbours,” Kynoch said in an interview. “It (the Mount Polley spill) is having an effect on all tailings dams in British Columbia.”

There are several investigations into the Mount Polley spill, including a review by a panel of experts appointed by the provincial government.

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