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

Cache Creek landfill extension set for September completion

Project has been delayed due to wildfires and floods over past two years

Drag races set to return for Graffiti Days weekend

Annual event features old favourites like the smoke show, and new events like a drive-in movie

Bonaparte River fishway, Thompson steelhead among projects awarded grant funding

More than $9 million will help 170 fish and wildlife projects around B.C.

Wellness clinics provide free, drop-in health information

New service in Clinton helps patients manage their health care and stay out of hospital

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

Five takeaways from the Court of Appeal ruling on B.C.’s pipeline law

It’s unclear how many tools are left in B.C.’s toolbox to fight the project

Scheer says it would take Conservatives five years to balance budget

Scheeraccused the Liberal government of spending $79.5 billion of previously unbudgeted funds

B.C. man, 30, arrested for driving his parents’ cars while impaired twice in one day

The Vancouver-area man was arrested after officers caught him driving impaired twice in one day

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read