- Our Town
Imperial Metals works to remediate Mount Polley tailings pond breach
In a statement released this afternoon Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch, appologized for not responding to the tailings pond breach at Mount Polley Mine.
"As soon as I heard the news yesterday, I came to site to assess the situation and support the recovery team," Kynock said.
"Imperial accepts it is our responsibility to put this right, and we will work diligently to do so. Our first priority was, and continues to be, the health and safety of our employees and neighbours."
He said he regrets any frustration his unavailability may have caused after the disaster Monday, and reassured media and residents about the company's future actions.
"The event is now stabilized and mine personnel, contractors, ministry officials and the Cariboo Regional District are working together to ensure that no setbacks are experienced," Kynock said. "Working with the Ministries of Forests and Environment, we are now mobilizing crews and equipment to collect and remove floating debris from Quesnel Lake."
He said Mount Polley Mine has experienced a major setback as it was entering into a promising phase of extended operations.
The breach released approximately 10 million cubic meters of water into Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.
He said Polley Lake rose approximately 1.5 meters above normal height and steps are being taken to pump excess water into the Springer Pit to start dropping the water level back to normal.
Based on the volume of Quesnel Lake, there was no visible rise in water elevation.
"We know Hazeltine Creek was scoured through its entire length leaving eroded banks," Kynock said.
"Access roads to this creek have been blocked and the creek is being posted for no access. The public is asked to stay away from Hazeltine Creek at this time."
He said water quality is a key issue affecting the health and well-being of the surrounding community.
"Ministry of Environment have been and continue to carry out water sampling in Quesnel Lake," Kynock. "We expect a good outcome from this sampling because the water discharged by the event already almost meets drinking water standards. Specifically, mercury has never been detected in our water and arsenic levels are about one-fifth of drinking water quality.
"We regularly perform toxicity tests and we know this water is not toxic to rainbow trout. We do know suspended solids from the tailings will need to settle out before the water meets suspended solids criteria. Observations at the mouth of Hazeltine Creek on August 4h indicated solids were settling rapidly.
"I would like to personally thank everyone who has been involved in the recovery efforts, especially the Cariboo Regional District and provincial agencies who responded very quickly.
"I will continue to provide you with updates as soon as they are available."