B.C. mining code revisions aim to eliminate disasters like Mount Polley – by Dirk Meissner (CTV News.com – July 20, 2016)


The Canadian Press – VICTORIA – British Columbia’s Mines Minister Bill Bennett says mining code revisions introduced Wednesday include risk-protection requirements to ensure a disaster like the Mount Polley tailings pond collapse never happens again.

In August 2014, a massive tailings dam breached at the mine in B.C.’s Cariboo region, sending 24 million cubic meters of mine waste and water into nearby rivers and lakes.

“What we have done here, and what we’ll do in the next few months will prevent a major accident from happening with a tailings storage facility here in B.C.,” Bennett said at a news conference Wednesday. “I’m absolutely convinced of that.”

He said the changes include design standards for tailings storage facilities tailored to conditions within the province and emphasize public and worker protection.

An independent review of the disaster last year concluded that the tailings dam collapsed because the strength and location of clay underneath the dam was not taken into account during original designs.

Bennett said the mining code updates can’t guarantee small leaks or spills from tailings facilities, but the changes include conditions and requirements that go beyond normal industry standards.

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