Yellow Giant mine on Banks Island

Banks Island miners face 18 pollution charges

Gold mine near Prince Rupert shut down last summer for permit violations, owners charged for failing to report spill

Two men and a mining company in receivership have been charged with 18 pollution infractions related to their shut-down gold mine on an island near Prince Rupert.

Benjamin Mossman and Dirk Meckert are scheduled to appear in Prince Rupert provincial court Sept. 7. Also charged is Banks Island Gold Ltd., which went into receivership after being shut down last year for provincial permit violations.

The Yellow Giant mine was ordered shut down by the Ministry of Environment in July 2015 after a tailings spill was reported on a tip. There is one charge of failing to report a spill of a polluting substance, and the other 17 charges are for failing to comply with permits.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice raised the issue in the legislature this spring, after receiving a letter from the Gitxaala First Nation referring to two separate tailings spills. Rice said the ministry did not inspect the operation for 15 months, until receiving a complaint.

NDP mining critic Norm Macdonald told the legislature a worker at the mine “became fed up, put his job on the line, sent the ministry and me a tip and pictures that documented what was going on there.”

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the mine was shut down when the situation was brought to its attention. The mine’s 90 employees lost their jobs.

The province has a $420,000 security bond from the mining company, to provide ongoing monitoring. In March the mines ministry and Banks Island Gold removed explosives from the mine site and in May ministry technical staff assessed the hazardous materials on site.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service, which recommended the charges, would not comment on the current condition of the Banks Island site, because it is evidence for the prosecution.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

VIDEO: Langford man battling cancer honored with hot rod, motorcycle procession

Friends and family support Patrick O’Hara on his 73rd birthday

‘Seven baths in two days’: Homeless adjusting to life in hotels

Victoria passes motion to allow camping 24-7 in parks until June 25

Langford Fire calm mother and daughter after being trapped in elevator

Three-year-old girl given stuffed animal to calm nerves

Capital Regional District prepares to reopen regional campgrounds

Camping will look different at Island View, Sooke Potholes, Jordan River sites

Langford businesses can expand onto sidewalks, public spaces

Council passes new bylaw supporting business expansion

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

POLL: Do you agree with the provincial government’s decision to increase the minimum wage?

B.C.’s lowest-paid workers will be getting a few more dollars to try… Continue reading

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

Edmonton, Vancouver and Toronto vying to be NHL hubs, but there’s a catch

The NHL unveiled a return-to-play plan that would feature 24 teams

As SD84 schools look to reopen, Kyuquot and Zeballos opt out

Schools in Tahsis and Gold River will open on June 1, with 30 per cent students expected to come in

B.C. sees 9 new COVID-19 cases, one death as officials watch for new cases amid Phase Two

Number of confirmed active cases is at 244, with 37 people in hospital

Illicit-drug deaths up in B.C. and remain highest in Canada: chief coroner

More than 4,700 people have died of overdoses since B.C. declared a public health emergency in early 2016

CMHC sees declines in home prices, sales, starts that will linger to end of 2022

CMHC said average housing prices could fall anywhere from nine to 18 per cent in its forecast

B.C. Paralympian named to Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame

Three-time world and Paralympic gold medalist Sonja Gaudet is part of 11-member class

Most Read