Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett visits steelworkers on the Northwest Transmission Line

Northern mines await Mount Polley probe

Morrison mine permit put on hold, Red Chris to get independent tailings pond review to present to Tahltan Nation before operating

The company developing the Morrison copper-gold mine near Smithers remains confident it can complete the project, despite a decision by the B.C. government to suspend its environmental assessment until an investigation into the Mount Polley mine dam breach is completed.

Pacific Booker Minerals “will comply with all the recommendations made by the independent engineering investigation and review panel and will construct and operate the Morrison mine in compliance with industry best practices, using proven technology and in full compliance with all permit requirements,” company director Erik Tornquist said in a statement.

Environment Minister Mary Polak and Energy and Mines Minister announced the suspension this week. It’s the second setback the province has handed to Pacific Booker, which won a court decision last December after its permit was refused by the B.C. government.

Bennett said the Morrison tailings pond was one of the issues in the court case, and he and Polak decided it was in the best interests of the public and the mine proponent to wait. The Lake Babine First Nation intervened in the case, and its land claim as well as concerns about long-term effects on water quality in Morrison Lake were cited in the decision to withhold the mine permit.

Three mine engineering experts have been given until Jan. 31 to report their findings on the cause of the Aug. 4 tailings dam breach at Mount Polley, a similar open-pit mine near Williams Lake.

Mount Polley owner Imperial Metals is nearing completion of its Red Chris project near Iskut in northwest of B.C. It has its permits except one for its tailings pond, and the company has agreed to another independent review of its design and construction before putting it into service.

A group of Tahltan Nation elders blocked a road to the Red Chris project after the Mount Polley incident, one of a series of title assertions in recent months.

“Red Chris should not be held up,” Bennett said. “There is a roadblock there now and the company is currently working around it, and also having I think some pretty fruitful discussions with the Tahltan Central Council.

“But they’re proceeding. Their mine is almost built, and they are hopeful that they will be able to provide the independent information or verification that the tailings dam at Red Chris is designed and built properly, such that the Tahltan Central Council will be satisfied they have the insurance and the mine will be able to proceed.”

 

Just Posted

Omnibus zoning bylaw sent for revisions to prevent blanket upzoning in downtown Victoria

More than 10 downtown properties identified by Downtown Residents Association

Proposed public art installation sparks debate in Victoria

$250,000 sculpture compliments an interactive sound element of First Nations drumming and singing

Christmas at McTavish Market gets bigger

Visitors of McTavish Market on the corner of McTavish and East Saanich… Continue reading

#MeToo at work: Employers play a role in fixing culture of harassment

B.C. workplaces are getting ahead of being the next MeToo debacle, calling on experts to train staff

Sooke Christmas hampers to be handed out Sunday

Over 400 hampers have already been prepared

Truck collision injuries cyclist in Saanich

A female cyclist suffered serious injuries after colliding with a truck Saturday… Continue reading

B.C. concert promoter bans Nazi symbols at shows

A man was witnessed making a Nazi salute during a heavy metal show at Pub 340

EDITORIAL: Putting #MeToo to work in your workplace

Workers from top to bottom need to stand together against the bully of sexual harassment

Owl found dead after eating rat poison leaves B.C. woman concerned

After finding the owl on her Surrey property, Christine Trozzo says the poison is a concern for kids

Change to CPP death benefit panned as insufficient to cover funeral costs

Funeral Services Association of Canada lobbied governments to raise the value to $3,580

Shelbourne Community Kitchen vies for $20,000 prize

Epicure Foundation, based in North Saanich, will give five groups $20,000 each

Woman in Nanaimo accidentally hands over diamond ring with spare change

Incident happened Wednesday at about 7 p.m. at parking lot near Nanaimo’s boardwalk

B.C. woman brain injured in crash as a baby gets $1.1 million in damages

Trial heard the woman was 16 months old, being carried by her mother when they were both hit

Most Read