B.C. must do mining better
The whole world witnessed the destruction from the Mount Polley tailings dam collapse, which released millions of cubic metres of toxic effluent into the Quesnel River systems in the summer of 2014.
It’s what happens when mining fails.
Now the reopened Mount Polley mine will release treated waste into Quesnel Lake, the world’s deepest fjord lake and a major tributary of the Fraser River — a temporary measure with no indication of how often the water will be tested.
Mining profits appear to be trumping the safety of communities, watersheds and wildlife.
Fish spawning and rearing grounds in Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake were damaged by last year’s breach and the full impact to salmon and other aquatic life is still unknown. A survey of northern B.C. found 80 per cent of chinook and sockeye salmon are either downstream from a tailings facility or would migrate up a river that could be contaminated.
Without stricter mining policies, fish around the province are in danger.
British Columbia’s mines need strict new safeguards and regulations. We’re encouraged that a B.C. mining code review is underway, but there are immediate measures the provincial government can take to make mining safer.
We’re asking the B.C. government to:
- • Suspend operations at Mount Polley until it has a real plan on how to deal with its waste.
- • Delay the approval of any new mines in B.C. until best available tailings management technologies such as dry stacking are in use.
- • Require upfront cash deposits from mines that want to operate in B.C.
Please tell decision-makers you want real solutions to prevent another Mount Polley disaster, not short-term measures that threaten more environmental damage.
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