VANCOUVER — A group of non-profits are launching a private prosecution of Mount Polley Mining Corporation and the B.C. government more than two years after a dam breach released millions of cubic metres of tailings pond water into the environment.
Although the August, 2014, accident at the gold and silver mine near the city of Williams Lake in central B.C. was the largest mine-waste disaster in Canadian history, the province’s chief inspector of mines ruled out charges last December after an investigation.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment Canada and the B.C. Conservation Officer Service have also undertaken investigations, but no charges have resulted from any of those probes so far.
Now MiningWatch Canada, a non-profit supported by environmental, social-justice and aboriginal organizations, is pushing the issue forward by announcing it plans to file charges in conjunction with a news conference at the Williams Lake Court House, Tuesday morning.
Ugo Lapointe, Canadian program co-ordinator of MiningWatch Canada, said in an interview Monday a private prosecution is needed because government simply isn’t acting on the matter. “If something was happening we wouldn’t be doing this,” he said. “Something needs to happen. So we are keeping pressure on by filing charges.”
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