Archive | British Columbia Mining

Boom and gloom in British Columbia’s north – by Nelson Bennet (Business In Vancouver – September 12, 2019)

As of May this year, an estimated 4,385 workers were employed on the $8.8 billion Site C dam construction project near Fort St. John. Kitimat and Terrace are humming with activity, thanks to the $40 billion LNG Canada-Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

Port expansion in Prince Rupert has created an additional 1,000 jobs since 2016. Employment is strong in the Dawson Creek-Tumbler Ridge-Chetwynd triangle, thanks in part to Conuma Coal Resources reopening a third mine – Willow Creek – last year.

And in the Golden Triangle of northwest B.C., mining exploration spending was up by about $165 million in 2018, according to EY. Economic growth in B.C.’s north is reflected in housing starts and construction permits. Continue Reading →

Taseko Mines barred from work in Tsilhqot’in traditional territory until Indigenous rights case is heard – by Ainslie Cruickshank (Toronto Star – September 6, 2019)

VANCOUVER—The Supreme Court of British Columbia has granted an Indigenous nation a temporary respite from the threat of extensive mine exploration on its traditional lands.

Justice Sharon Matthews issued an injunction order Friday to prevent Vancouver-based Taseko Mines Limited from doing any work until the court rules whether the provincial permit for a drilling program infringes on Tsilhqot’in Indigenous rights.

“At the end of the day, this was our last hope,” said Jimmy Lulua, chief of the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations, one of the six Tsilhqot’in Nation communities. Continue Reading →

Imperial Metals seeks to present evidence before decision on potential Mt. Polley environmental prosecution – by Gordon Hoekstra (Vancouver Sun – August 26, 2019)

Imperial Metals wants evidence from a trial on the responsibility for the Mount Polley mine dam failure to be considered in a prosecutorial decision by Canada against the company for potential environmental damage charges relating to the breach.

In a petition filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Aug. 19, Imperial Metals says the evidence of former-British Columbia chief inspector of mines Al Hoffman is of “fundamental importance” to establishing whether there is any reasonable prospect of securing a conviction against the company under the federal Fisheries Act, and whether it is in the public interest to launch such a prosecution.

The mining company has asked for the court’s permission to use Hoffman’s evidence and related B.C. government responses collected during the discovery stage, information normally only to be used in the lawsuit for which it is gathered. Continue Reading →

The rising cost of ‘social license’? Liberals give away $40M stake in coal terminal to two First Nations – by Jesse Snyder (National Post – August 20, 2019)

OTTAWA — In a highly unusual move, the federal government gifted a $39-million stake in a B.C. coal terminal to two First Nations communities, perhaps signaling the rising cost of winning Indigenous support for natural resource projects.

The Canada Development Investment Corporation (CDEV) announced in July that it had transferred a 10 per cent stake in the publicly-owned Ridley Terminals facility to the Lax Kw’alaams Band and the Metlakatla First Nation, whose people reside near Prince Rupert on the northern B.C. coast. Finance officials confirmed there was “no payment associated with that transfer.”

The transfer comes after the two Indigenous groups were set to be major beneficiaries of a liquefied natural gas project that has since been scrapped. Continue Reading →

Mount Polley mine disaster five years later; emotions, accountability unresolved – by Dirk Meissner (Canadian Press/CTV News – August 4, 2019)

VICTORIA – People are swimming and fishing in Quesnel Lake five years after the largest environmental mining disaster in Canadian history, but residents of Likely, B.C., are still struggling with unresolved emotions about what happened and who will be held accountable for the dam collapse at the Mount Polley mine.

A five-year deadline for federal Fisheries Act charges expired Sunday, while the possibility of other charges under the same act remains with no timeline for a decision. British Columbia missed the three-year deadline to proceed with charges under both the province’s Environmental Management Act and Mines Act.

Likely resident Lisa Kraus said the central B.C. community of about 350 people remains wounded, concerned and somewhat divided about the tailings dam breach at the Imperial Metals open-pit copper and gold mine. Continue Reading →

Murkowski, Sullivan urge action on mine cleanup – by Peter Segall (Juneau Empire – August 5, 2019)

Juneau Empire

Alaska’s Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, on Monday hosted a number of state and federal agencies, local organizations and commissioners of the U.S.-Canada International Joint Commission for a round-table discussion of transboundary mining.

Among the organizations present were the Central Council of Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska, Salmon Beyond Borders, Council of Alaska Producers, Alaska Miners Association and United Fishermen of Alaska.

Government organizations present were the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Forest Service, Alaska Department of Natural Resources, Alaska Department of Fish and Game and Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Continue Reading →

First Nations call for stepped-up financial assurance to mitigate mine disaster risk – by Gordon Hoekstra (Vancouver Sun – July 30, 2019)

The B.C. First Nations Energy and Mining Council is calling on the provincial government to close a policy gap that allows mining companies not to provide financial assurance to pay for the costs of a mine disaster.

The call comes on the eve of the five-year anniversary of Imperial Metals’ catastrophic Mount Polley mine dam spill in the Interior — which has still resulted in no environmental charges — and as the council released a report it commissioned on reducing the risks of mining disasters in B.C.

In 2014, the province ordered Imperial Metals to clean up the massive spill, which the company did, but the council’s report notes that if a company went bankrupt, the public could be on the hook for costs. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Changes Needed To Make B.C. Mining Companies Financially Accountable For Disasters (BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council – July 30, 2019)

VANCOUVER, July 30, 2019 /CNW/ – Five years after the Mount Polley tailings dam breach that spilled 24 million cubic metres of waste into critical salmon habitat in Fraser River Watershed, communities and taxpayers face the prospect of having to foot the bill to clean-up the next mining disaster unless the BC government compels mining companies to provide funds for cleanup, according to a new report released today.

The report, commissioned by the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council (FNEMC) and written by economist Jason Dion, calls on the province to introduce a new legal framework to close a policy gap that allows mining companies to operate without providing financial assurance to cover the costs of a disaster.

Now is the time to make these changes. The expert panel mandated by BC First Nations Leadership Council and the provincial government to determine the cause of the disaster warned BC can expect two massive dam failures every 10 years unless mining laws are changed. Continue Reading →

Canada mine waste prompts calls for better water protection (Associated Press – July 22, 2019)

KALISPELL, Mont. — Towns, tribes and politicians in U.S. states bordering British Columbia are seeking better oversight and stricter regulations to protect them from hazardous pollution that flow downstream from coal mines in the Canadian province.

Leaders in Libby, Troy and Eureka, towns along the Kootenai River, wrote in separate letters to Montana Gov. Steve Bullock saying their livelihoods depend on the region’s rivers and lakes. But those waterways that support diverse wildlife and recreational interests are being compromised by contaminants from British Columbia coal mines, they said.

They and tribal leaders in Montana and Idaho want state and federal officials to fund better long-term water quality monitoring and to adopt a strict water quality standard for selenium. Continue Reading →

B.C. mining touted as green solution even as environmental groups warn of lax industry regulations – by Ainslie Cruickshank (Toronto Star – July 17, 2019)

VANCOUVER—A B.C. environmental organization says lax mining regulation is putting B.C. waterways at risk, even as resource ministers on Wednesday touted Canada as a top source for the metals and minerals the world needs to transition to a green economy.

“Our big concern is how much of B.C.’s competitive advantage, as they call it, is actually just weak environmental regulations,” said Lars Sander-Green, a science and communications analyst with Wildsight.

Sander-Green’s comments came as the annual conference of ministers responsible for energy and mines wrapped up. This year’s conference was held in Cranbrook, B.C. Continue Reading →

Federal and tribal coalitions challenge Canadian mining – by Liz Weber (High Country News – July 8, 2019)

‘It’s about British Columbia being a really bad actor as an upstream neighbor that pollutes our water.’

The headwaters of the Stikine River begin in northern British Columbia and flow southwest in a long arching comma. The river carves through the landscape, unconcerned with international or tribal boundaries before crossing into the United States where it empties into the Eastern Passage near Wrangell, Alaska.

Yet the Stikine River is among America’s most endangered rivers, threatened by British Columbia’s upstream mining practices, according to American Rivers, a river basin advocacy group.

The river’s problems represent the decades-long struggle to put international regulations on the contaminants flowing downstream from B.C.’s open-pit hard rock and coal mines. Now, two separate coalitions of U.S. senators and tribal leaders are joining forces to once again demand action. Continue Reading →

Five-year anniversary looms with no charges in catastrophic Mount Polley dam collapse – by Gordon Hoekstra (Vancouver Sun – July 7, 2019)

Environmentalists and Mount Polley mine-area residents are anxiously waiting as one deadline approaches for federal agencies to lay charges over the 2014 collapse of the B.C. Interior mine’s tailings dam.

After a 4-1/2-year investigation, a team comprised of officials with Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, along with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, delivered a charge package to federal prosecutors this spring.

It is now up to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to determine if charges will be laid. Under federal law, there is a five-year window that ends Aug. 4 to lay charges in a summary conviction under the Fisheries Act, where a large corporation faces fines up to $8 million. Continue Reading →

Taseko Mines seeking court injunction after First Nation members block work at Fish Lake – by Andrea Woo (Globe and Mail – July 4, 2019)

A B.C. mining company is seeking a court injunction after its crew was blocked from beginning work this week on a controversial open-pit mine near Fish Lake, also known as Teztan Biny.

Brian Battison, vice-president of corporate affairs for Taseko Mines Ltd., said the company has no other choice but to pursue the authoritative option after members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation blockaded access to the site on Tuesday. “What else can you do but rely on the law?” Mr. Battison said Wednesday.

The roadblock was set up roughly 80 kilometres from the site of the proposed New Prosperity copper and gold mine project, southwest of Williams Lake. When Taseko crews arrived on Tuesday, members of the Tsilhqot’in Nation told them they did not have access to the site. Continue Reading →

First Nation expects reprieve will be brief after blocking mining company from its territorial lands to protect sacred B.C. lake – by Jesse Winter and Wanyee Li (Toronto Star – July 3, 2019)

TL’ESQOX FIRST NATION—It was just after 6:30 a.m. and Cecil Grinder hadn’t slept. Standing next to a smouldering fire, he watched the trucks approaching from the east.

“I tried to get a few hours sleep, but I just couldn’t,” the Tl’etinqox First Nation councillor said, explaining that he was too nervous. Seventeen-year-old Syles Laceese joined him on the tarmac.

At the junction with Farwell Canyon Road, about 40 minutes outside of Williams Lake, B.C., a white pickup and a tractor-trailer towing a bulldozer slowed to a stop at Grinder’s command amid the rolling hills and cattle ranches of Tsilhqot’in traditional territory. Continue Reading →

British Columbia: Tsilhqot’in Nation plans peaceful action to protect two sacred lakes from mining – by Brenna Owen (CBC News/Canadian Press – July 2, 2019)

The Taseko Mines project west of Williams Lake was approved by the province in 2010

A First Nation in British Columbia’s western Interior says its members intend to peacefully take action to protect two lakes with cultural and spiritual significance from drilling by a mining company.

According to a release from the Tsilhqot’in Nation in Williams Lake, Taseko Mines Ltd. sent a notice on June 27 indicating it would begin using heavy equipment such as logging and road-clearing equipment starting Tuesday.

The company says the drilling and related activities are an attempt to prove the lakes will not be harmed by its so-called New Prosperity Project, a proposed open-pit copper and gold mine west of Williams Lake. Continue Reading →