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

Two people rescued after falling from lifeboat at Ogden Point

Crew members of the Explorer of the Seas cruise ship fell into the water Thursday night

Online blasting video helps ease Sooke residents concerns

Complaints of dust ongoing since 2017

View Royal Park sign taken down after glitch redirects to pornographic website

Resident looking to learn more about workout equipment discovered the problem code

Group pushing to preserve Saanich Hydro land as park

Neighbours petitioning to buy surplus land on Kings Road

Son of missing Oak Bay woman asks for continued public support

‘Because she is still out there, somewhere’

Here’s what you need to know about Day 1 at the BC Games

All 18 events kick off on the track, riding ring, fields, courts and lake in the Cowichan Valley

Saanich balances need for sewer with rural protection

A Saanich councillor says the public does not need to be concerned… Continue reading

Five fun things to do this weekend

From a paint in to festivals, there are lots of fun events taking place this weekend

VIDEO: How to throw a frisbee

Ultimate frisbee player Amy Mackay shows off the proper technique

Site C dam project plagued by problems: expert

E. Harvey Elwin expresses concern about internal BC Hydro and government documents

Seal attacks kayakers in the Broughton Archipelago

“It has to be one chance in a million of this happening.”

Special Olympic athletes take on BC Games during special anniversary

Known as the Global Day of Inclusion, July 20 marks the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago

Fundraiser to help mom of jogger detained after crossing U.S. border

Cedella Roman, 19, was held in U.S. after accidentally crossing border in South Surrey

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Most Read