EDITORIAL – Let us be warned

Tailing pond breach could happen on Vancouver island

The recent Mount Polley Mining tailing pond breach in Likely, B.C. should serve as a warning to all of us on Vancouver Island, none more so than those in charge of granting mining licences.

While media and political parties point the finger of blame this way and that, the bigger question is; who will pay for the cleanup?

Very likely, the majority of the bill will be footed by taxpayers.

Sure, Imperial Metals, which owns Mount Polley Mining Corp., is apt to be slapped with a hefty fine – some reports are suggesting amounts up to $1 million – but that would barely begin to cover the costs of reclaiming the waters, should they be deemed critically contaminated.

There was a comparable tailings pond breach in the state of Tennessee in 2008 (Kingston Fossil Plant). More than six years later, restoration efforts continue. Some estimates have the total costs of that cleanup to be in excess of $1.2 billion U.S.

So what does all this mean to Vancouver Island? Could it happen here?

The answer, of course, is yes. It could happen anywhere there are tailing ponds; and, as a byproduct of mines, there are tailing ponds on Vancouver Island.

The requests for exploratory site testing by mine companies is an ongoing issue with the various Island governances, Comox Valley Regional District included. In fact, in June, the CVRD submitted a letter to the Ministry of Energy and Mines, expressing concern over a proposed site testing by a mining company in the Woodhus Creek/Oyster River area and requested that “no coal licence be issued” to the company in question.

Consider it a proactive approach.

Some economists were undoubtedly crying foul over the decision, upset at the number of potential jobs being lost by such a request.

But it’s a far cry more economically sound than the reactive approach being incorporated in regards to the disaster in Likely, B.C.

Sometimes foresight is 20:20.

–Black Press

 

Just Posted

Sooke cannabis report does little to answer production questions

Council is trying to get ahead of the issue

PHOTOS: Thousands raised for cancer at second annual Gala for Hope

Victoria Fire Department’s fundraiser a success ahead of Ride to Conquer Cancer

Vet services for Victoria’s pets of the homeless cancelled for first time in a decade

Vets for Pets faces a volunteer shortage that’s forced the group to cancel its recent service

Wooldog among mysteries uncovered with powerful UVic microscope

Finding ‘Mutton,’ a dog lost in a Smithsonian drawer for 150 years

Optometrist pedals through depression, leads others for the cause

Ride Don’t Hide bike rides start, end at Windsor Park

Victoria Weekender: What’s happening this weekend, June 15-16

Car Free YYJ, a barber battle and an Outdoor Discovery Day

B.C. VIEWS: When farmland protection doesn’t protect farmers

Secondary residences aren’t mansions, families tell Lana Popham

Bombers down B.C. Lions 33-23 in season opener

Former Lion Andrew Harris leads Winnipeg with 148 rushing yards

Northern B.C. family remembers murdered Indigenous woman with memorial walk

Still no closure for Ramona Wilson’s family 25 years later

Monkey spotted on late-night jaunt in Campbell River

Conservation officers also apparently looking for cougar in the area

B.C. university to offer mentorship program for former youth in care

Students using the provincial tuition waiver program will soon be able to form a community at KPU

Cyclists competing in one of the toughest bike races on the planet pass through Fernie

Divide riders looking strong as they finish first leg of 4160 km race

You might not know these B.C. records are public

Hired a lawyer to file a civil claim? Those are published online

B.C. bus driver loses case to get job back after texting while driving full bus

An arbitator ruled that Tim Wesman’s phone usage was a “a reckless disregard for public safety”

Most Read