Pollution spill at Yellow Giant gold mine sparks investigation by Environment Canada -by Gordon Hoekstra (Vancouver Sun – July 28, 2015)


Federal agency determining possible violations of the Fisheries Act at remote island in northwest B.C.

Environment Canada has launched an investigation into a pollution spill at Banks Island Gold’s Yellow Giant mine in northwestern B.C. over potential violations of the Fisheries Act.

The B.C. government has said Environment Canada will lead the investigation, supported by the B.C. Conservation Officer Service. Environment Canada would not provide an official for an interview.

“Environment Canada’s enforcement branch is currently investigating to determine whether there have been any violations of the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act,” Environment Canada spokeswoman Barbara Harvey said in a written response. “As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to provide further information at this time.”

The gold mine operation 110 kilometres south of Prince Rupert was shut down earlier this month by the B.C. Energy and Mining Ministry following an order by the B.C. Ministry of Environment to stop polluting.In an interview on Tuesday, B.C.’s chief inspector of mines, Al Hoffman, said his office is co-operating with other agencies on the investigation.

Hoffman said while sediment-laden water released into the environment is a concern, he does not believe any tailings were spilled.

“I don’t think it’s that serious,” he said.

Tailings are the finely-ground rock containing potentially toxic metals that remain after ore is processed.

He said Yellow Giant was violating its permits, running ore from an exploration site through the main mine site and storing waste in an underground site, which it was not authorized to do.

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