Satellite image taken the day after Mount Polley mine tailings breach shows drained tailings dam and spill that backed into Polley Lake and down Hazeltine Creek to Quesnel Lake.

Mine dam inspections ordered across B.C.

Independent engineering inspections have been ordered for Mount Polley mine and nearly 100 other mine tailings ponds

Independent engineering inspections have been ordered for Mount Polley mine near Williams Lake and nearly 100 other mine tailings ponds with permits across the province, with reports to be complete by the end of January.

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett announced the dual reviews Monday. The Mount Polley investigation is to be complete by Jan. 31 and will be done concurrently with the B.C. government’s legally required probes by B.C.’s chief inspector of mines and the environment ministry, which looks at the longer-term effects of the Aug. 4 tailings spill.

Bennett said costs will be covered by Imperial Metals for Mount Polley and by all operators of mines with permits to operate nearly 100 tailings facilities in B.C.

“Certainly in the last 40 years there’s no evidence of a tailings dam breach in British Columbia, but rare or not, it happened, and so the public’s confidence I think is shaken” Bennett said at a news conference in Vancouver. “That’s why we need to get these three experts involved as quickly as we’re getting them involved.”

The Mount Polley panel includes UBC mine engineering professor Dirk Van Zyl, U.S. consulting engineer Steven Vick, whose earlier investigations included the 2005 New Orleans levee breach that followed Hurricane Katrina, and Norbert Morgenstern, an Alberta civil engineering professor who has worked on 140 mine projects.

Bennett said the panel was chosen with approval of the Williams Lake and Soda Creek Indian Bands, and their report will be made available to the band councils at the same time as government.

Independent inspections of other mine tailings ponds must be completed Dec. 1, a change from the March 31 deadline for inspections that are required annually. Bennett said these inspections will each have to be reviewed by an independent geotechnical engineering firm.

 

Just Posted

Kelowna woman only Canadian to train in Danish sailing program

A Kelowna sailor compares her life at sea to manning an old… Continue reading

Okanagan Sun juggle coaching staff

Kelowna football club makes a move within its coaching ranks

Kelowna West Libertarian goes after ICBC

Kyle Geronazzo feels B.C. drivers are being “ripped off” by the provincial auto insurer

Kelowna finalists announced for small business awards

The 15th annual Small Business BC Awards will be held Feb. 23

Former councillor announces mayoral bid in West Kelowna

Gord Milson says he’s running for mayor in next October’s civic election

What’s happening

Find out about events happening in your community this weekend

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Letter: Let’s vote for a return to democracy in November.

Letter writer says a coming referendum vote could change the way political power is distributed

Train derails in Northwest B.C.

CN reports no injuries or dangerous goods involved after coal train derailment.

King’s thrilling tale brought to the Vernon stage

Arts Club Theatre Company presents Misery at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre Jan. 30

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Most Read