Mount Polley Mine to reopen 2 years after tailings pond disaster (CBC News British Columbia – June 23, 2016)

The Canadian Press – A gold and copper mine in British Columbia’s Interior is reopening nearly two years after its tailings pond collapsed, setting off an environmental disaster.

In August 2014, a massive breach at the Mount Polley Mine site sent 24 million cubic meters of waste and water into nearby rivers and lakes. The province’s mines minister said Thursday that senior staff have authorized the mine to go back into full production, one year after it was approved for restricted operations.

“We do have more work to do, but we’re very deep into our overall effort in government to respond to this accident to ensure it can never happen again,” Bill Bennett said Thursday over teleconference.

He said he expects the reopening of the mine, owned by Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX:III), to be “welcome news” for surrounding communities, including Likely, Williams Lake, 100 Mile House and Quesnel.

In January 2015, an independent engineering investigation report concluded the dam failed because the strength and location of a layer of clay under the dam wasn’t taken into account during the design process.

It made 19 recommendations directed at the operator, the mining industry, professional groups and the government regulator to prevent another such disaster.

Numerous environmental impact reports conducted after the spill found that concentrations of metals in fish were similar to those in fish elsewhere and surface water tests showed it to be non-toxic.

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