B.C. Mining Incident Spills Larges Amounts of Water, Fine Sand

B.C.’s mining minister explained in a statement issued on Tuesday that the tailings pond dam breach at the Mt. Polley mine near Likely, B.C., is anticipated to have released approximately 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of fine sand into Polley Lake. Additionally, the flow is anticipated to have continued into Quesnel Lake. The tailings pond breach took place at around 3:45 a.m. on Monday.

According to a statement posted to the company website on Tuesday morning, Imperial Metals confirmed that the breach has now stabilized and that the company is relieved there is no loss of life or injury reported. The company clarified that mine personnel and instruments did not detect any indication of an impending breach and so the exact cause of the breach still remains unknown. The statement said that “exact quantities of water and tailings discharged have yet to be determined.” The company website shows a map of the Polley Mine site, which depicts that there is only one tailings pond on-site.

Energy and Mines Minister, Bill Bennett, condemned the incident on Tuesday, saying that “this is a serious incident that should not have happened.” He added that “we are devoting every appropriate resource working with local officials to clean up the site, mitigate any impacts to communities and the environment, and investigate the cause of the breach. We will determine the cause of the event and we are determined to prevent an incident like this from happening again.”

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