Archive | Mining Environmental Accidents, Pollution and Abandoned Mines

Mining company working with environmentalists to clean up old mining sites – by Christine Coulter (CBC News British Columbia – February 20, 2018)

‘What we are trying to do is remove any possible pollutants,’ says Salmo Watershed Streamkeepers coordinator

Calgary-based mining company Margaux Resources has announced a plan to clean up old tailings sites by using new mining technologies to extract the remaining minerals.

Tailings have long been known to cause environmental damage including loss of animal habitats and contamination of soil, groundwater and waterways.

Margaux has partnered with the Salmo Watershed Sreamkeepers Society — a non-profit engaged in protecting and maintaining the Salmo River in southeastern B.C.— for the remediation project. Continue Reading →

[Northwest Territories Mining] Giant Mine rehab contract awarded (Mining Journal – February 20, 2018)

Canada’s government has awarded a main construction manager contract as part of a multimillion dollar remediation of the storied Giant Mine near Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories.

The abandoned gold mine operated from 1948-1999 when its last owner Royal Oak Mines entered receivership.

The government said the site was one of the highest priority contaminated areas with the federal property inventory and required ongoing management to protect human health and safety and the environment.

The scope includes tailings management, building demolition, pit closures, dealing with contaminated soils and “in-situ encapsulation” of the 237,000 tonnes of arsenic trioxide stored in underground chambers. Continue Reading →

The mining reform America really needs – by Jennifer Krill (The Hill – February 1, 2018)

Jennifer Krill is executive director of Earthworks, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting communities and the environment from the adverse impacts of mineral and energy development while promoting sustainable solutions.

In recent months, President Trump and Interior Secretary Zinke have moved to gut bedrock environmental laws in order to accelerate the mining of so-called “critical minerals.” They claim America is over-reliant on foreign countries for these minerals and that fast-tracking permits for domestic mines will strengthen our national security.

It is either nonsense or a deliberate deception: a trojan horse built out of toothpicks and duct tape. The administration is using a national security rationale as cover for a gift to the mining industry, proposing further erosion of already flimsy community and environmental protections against the impacts of hardrock mining.

Yes, we need to change U.S. mining policy, but not to loosen oversight. Communities across the country are living with mining pollution, and taxpayers — not the polluters — too often are paying for cleanup. Continue Reading →

Still No Charges for the Company Behind Canada’s Largest Mining Spill – by Carol Linnitt ( – February 12, 2018)

Canada has one of the worst records on the planet for making polluters like Imperial Metals pay.

The company responsible for the Mount Polley mine spill—one of the largest environmental disasters in Canadian history—has found out it’s not going to face any charges in British Columbia.

The news likely has billionaire Murray Edwards, owner of Imperial Metals and the Mount Polley mine (and the Calgary Flames) toasting with his rich friends in London (where he lives to avoid paying taxes).

If you’re not in BC, there’s a chance the aerial images of the disaster haven’t already scarred you forever. This is what the collapsed tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine looked like in August 2014. Continue Reading →

Canada ‘needs to act and act very soon’ on polluting mine, say Alaska politicians – by Dave Croft (CBC News North – February 6, 2018)

Alaska politicians on trip to Ottawa ask for progress on Tulsequah Chief mine cleanup

Senior Alaskan politicians say U.S. federal and state agencies are ramping up their efforts to force B.C. to clean up the abandoned Tulsequah Chief mine, about 80 kilometres south of Atlin.

Dan Sullivan, one of Alaska’s two U.S. senators, and the state’s Lt.-Gov. Byron Mallot were in Ottawa Monday for a series of meetings with Canadian officials, including federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna. Mallot said there will be more meetings on transboundary issues in April.

“Hopefully this will continue to create the kind of focus on the Tulsequah Chief mine that we raised in the last two years,” said Mallot. “Recognizing that the mine had been spewing water — waste water — for almost half a century, and we’ve got this focused at a level now that has never been focused on before,” he said. Continue Reading →

US Officials Consider New Tool to Combat Mine Spills: Robots (New York Times – January 31, 2018)

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – DENVER — Crumbling mine tunnels awash with polluted waters perforate the Colorado mountains, and scientists may one day send robots creeping through the pitch-black passages to study the mysterious currents that sometimes burst to the surface with devastating effects.

One such disaster happened at the inactive Gold King Mine in southwestern Colorado in 2015, when the Environmental Protection Agency accidentally triggered the release of 3 million gallons (11 million liters) of mustard-colored water laden with arsenic, lead and other contaminants. The spill tainted rivers in three states.

Now, the EPA is considering using robots and other sophisticated technology to help prevent these types of “blowouts” or clean them up if they happen. But first the agency has to find out what’s inside the mines, some of which date to Colorado’s gold rush in the 1860s. Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: B.C.’s Recent Crown Decision: How Can The Worst Mining Waste Disaster in Canadian History Not Have Legal Consequences?

BC Crown decision to quash Mount Polley private prosecution makes no sense

Source: FNWARM (First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining) – MiningWatch Canada

The BC Prosecution Service announced Tuesday that they were taking over and quashing the private prosecution of Mount Polley Mining Corporation over the tailings dam disaster. The charges were laid by Bev Sellars, Grandmother, former Chief of Xat’sull First Nation (Soda Creek), author, and indigenous advocate.

“It is my duty as a Grandmother to protect the environment for future generations. Indigenous people’s law stresses that you have to take care of the land for generations ahead. I pushed the pause button by pressing charges against Mount Polley before BC’s statute of limitations ran out,” said Sellars.

“Instead of the Crown taking over and holding Imperial Metals to account and bringing justice for this disaster, they have failed to act. They have failed First Nations, failed the people of BC, and failed future generations.” Continue Reading →

Province halts private prosecution against Mount Polley tailings spill (CBC News B.C. – January 30, 2018)

Bev Sellars had filed court documents alleging that Mount Polley Mining Corp. polluted the environment

The B.C. Prosecution Service announced Tuesday it will not pursue private charges in the 2014 collapse of the tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine. The charges were filed by Indigenous woman Bev Sellars days after British Columbia’s government announced that provincial charges would not be laid.

On August 4, 2017, Bev Sellars swore a private Information alleging that the Mount Polley Mining Corporation (MPMC) had committed various offences contrary to the provincial Environmental Management Act and Mines Act.

The prosecution service says it does not usually permit a private prosecution to proceed. In this situation however it reviewed everything Sellars submitted. Continue Reading →

EDITORIAL: In 2018, the pressure’s on: Don’t overlook the demands of responsible mine closure – by Alisha Hiyate (Canadian Mining Journal – January 2018)

Why mine closure matters and why it gets ignored:

In the fall, I moderated a roundtable discussion on mine closure at The Northern Miner’s inaugural Progressive Mine Forum. Unfortunately, about half of the audience got up and left the room just before we started.

It was the last discussion of the day, so one might be tempted to chalk it up to fatigue or an effort to get an early jump on post-conference drinks. But, in reality, it’s not an unusual reaction to the topic of mine closure. It just seems to make miners’ eyes glaze over.

The paradox, however, is that mine closure is actually the subject that the public is most interested in – and the source of a lot of opposition to mining (see Page 29). Continue Reading →

NEWS RELEASE: Investing in Canada’s clean tech ecosystem will promote effective mining waste management while reducing greenhouse gases (January 24, 2018)

NEWS PROVIDED BY: Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Minister Bibeau announces $1.2 million to help a Thetford Mines company develop new technologies that will improve mining operations and produce cleaner ore

THETFORD MINES, QC, Jan. 24, 2018 /CNW/ – A more economical and environmentally friendly approach to capturing arsenic waste from mining operations may soon be developed thanks to an investment in new clean technologies from the Government of Canada.

The federal investment of $1.2 million was announced today by the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development and La Francophone and Member of Parliament for Compton–Stanstead, on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

Dundee Sustainable Technologies will use the funding to develop a process to separate the arsenic waste commonly produced through mining operations and trap it in stable, non-toxic glass. Continue Reading →

Baie Verte Mayor reigniting talks around former asbestos mine – by Cory Hurley (Western Star – January 18, 2018)

Proposed federal asbestos regulations do not mention former operations in province

BAIE VERTE, NL — Baie Verte Mayor Brandon Philpott says it’s time for all key players to start talking about the open pit and exposed asbestos fibres at the former Advocate Mines site again.

His comment came following Canada’s recent action toward its promised ban of the use, sale, import and export of asbestos and products containing that hazardous material.

The federal health and environment departments are supporting changes to eliminate the market for asbestos products in the country. The proposed regulations include an exemption to allow for cleanup of asbestos residue around former mines in an attempt to redevelop the sites. Continue Reading →

Why mine closure matters and why it gets ignored: Trends in mine closure from the Progressive Mine Forum – by alisha Hiyate (Canadian Mining Journal – January 2018)

For the Mine Closure segment of the above video, go to the Five Hour mark.

If you want to clear a room of miners, there are few better ways than to raise the topic of mine closure. At least, that’s sort of what happened at the Progressive Mine Forum in Toronto in late October. The inaugural event, organized by The Northern Miner, was dedicated to discussing innovation in mining. After a day of roundtables discussing CSR, Big Data in exploration, and innovation in mine development, operations and finance, about half the audience got up and left when it came time for the final topic of the day – mine closure.

While mine closure may not be a sexy topic, it is an urgent one.

“It’s the single most important thing that our industry does,” said Douglas Morrison, president and CEO of the Centre for Excellence in Mining Innovation. “Nobody in the public could care less what our productivity levels are, what the return on investment is. They absolutely care what we do with our waste streams – waste water and solid waste. This is where our industry interacts with the public.” Continue Reading →

Future of BHP and Vale’s Samarco joint venture remains uncertain – by James Thomson (Australian Financial Review – January 4, 2018)

The future of BHP Billiton’s stake in the Samarco iron ore joint venture in Brazil is unlikely to be resolved quickly, as the iron ore giant and its co-owner Vale inch towards a restart of the operation.

Reports out of Brazil on Thursday suggested that Brazilian giant Vale and BHP were holding talks on the future structure of the Samarco venture, which has been shut since a deadly dam failure in November 2015.

A Bloomberg report suggested that one option could see Vale acquire Melbourne-based BHP’s half-share and taking full ownership of Samarco. Continue Reading →

Illegal prospectors’ amber ‘Klondikes’ create moonscapes in Ukraine amid China demand (Japan Times – December 25, 2017)

AFP-JIJI – KRYVYTSYA, UKRAINE – Volodymyr Korkosh steps on the accelerator and his jeep lurches forward, jumping through deep water-filled ditches. “We often come too late by just two to three minutes,” the police officer shouts in disappointment.

His unit carries out daily raids on the outskirts of the village of Kryvytsya and nearby settlements in northwestern Ukraine’s Rivne region, aimed at catching locals red-handed mining amber illegally.

Once a scenic forest area, the site has been turned into a moonscape with wet marshy sand on the surface and man-made, funnel-like pits scattered for hundreds of meters around, evidence of work by hundreds of illicit prospectors. Continue Reading →

Feds jump into transboundary mining dispute – by Ed Schoenfeld (Coast Alaska News – December 29, 2017)

Coast Alaska News

The federal government is taking on the transboundary mining issue. The U.S. State Department now acknowledges Alaskans’ concerns about pollution from British Columbia mines. And it’s committed to engaging Canadian officials to protect salmon-rich, cross-boundary watersheds.

In November, the State Department issued a statement saying it was aware of Alaskans’ environmental concerns. And it said it was raising the issue with its Canadian counterparts. But details were scarce.

Then, the department sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott, who released it Dec. 28. He’s headed up the administration’s efforts to address potential pollution from mineral prospects across the border in British Columbia. Continue Reading →