Edney Creek showing rebuilt stream with new fish habitat, and growth of willows planted in riparian area. (Mount Polley photo)

Edney Creek showing rebuilt stream with new fish habitat, and growth of willows planted in riparian area. (Mount Polley photo)

INDUSTRIAL UPDATE 2020: Exploration continues while Mount Polley Mine is on care and maintenance status

Remediation work at the mine site continues

The Mount Polley mine is on care and maintenance status, with a small crew of about 12 people. During this period, Mount Polley is investing in the future and undertaking exploration on and around the mine site. Both geochemical and geophysical surveys have been completed, and follow-up exploration drilling is being planned. Mount Polley is hopeful that this exploration will discover additional copper and gold resources, and thus extend the mine life, once the copper price improves and the mine is able to reopen.

Remediation work at the mine site continues. Last summer, the mine completed installation of more new fish habitat in Hazeltine Creek, with work now completed on over five km of the creek. The rainbow trout from Polley Lake continue to use the new fish habitat in upper Hazeltine Creek, including over 4,000 spawners that were estimated to have used the creek in the spring of 2019. The trout population in Polley Lake is healthy and growing.

In addition, the reconstructed fish habitat in lower Edney Creek is being successfully used by salmon, with many sockeye spawners observed using the rebuilt portion of the creek last fall. In fact, every species of fish that used Edney Creek prior to the tailings spill have been observed using the reconstructed part of the creek, indicating that the new habitat is supporting the creek ecosystem.

Read More: Five years after Mount Polley Mine breach, resident still feels ‘angry, betrayed’

Planting of new vegetation in Hazeltine Creek continued in the summer of 2019. A total of over 600,000 native trees and shrubs have now been planted, with the main species including black cottonwood, willow, Sitka alder, black twinberry, red osier dogwood, and conifers. Wildlife is often seen using the remediated habitat around Edney and Hazeltine Creeks.

While there has been no field work over the past winter, plans are in development for further remediation work on lower Hazeltine Creek this summer, with most of the work to take place in the creek valley below the Ditch Road. The final decisions on the remediation plans for lower Hazeltine Creek will be made in consultation with the Habitat Remediation Working Group, whose membership includes representatives of the T’exelc First Nation, the Xat’sull First Nation, the provincial and federal governments, the mine and its consultants.

It is very important a mine does not retain too much water on site. Mount Polley has a permit to discharge treated (cleaned) water at depth into Quesnel Lake, with strict water quality limits in place, both at the water treatment plant and in the lake. Interestingly, Mount Polley’s site water usually meets these requirements even before treatment. The mine is also continuing to do research on passive treatment of water on site, and looking into options for releasing water into watersheds closer to the mine itself, and reducing the amount of water going directly into Quesnel Lake.

Read More: Mount Polley Mine eyes drilling permits for further exploration

The mine continues to monitor its site and discharge water, and the mine and government monitor the water quality in Quesnel Lake. To date, no negative effects of the mine’s discharge on sensitive aquatic species, or of surface water quality, have been identified in the monitoring data.

Data that is collected on surface water monitoring sites can be viewed on the provincial government website , which provides an interactive map that can be searched for sample results collected from Quesnel Lake (and many other lakes and streams throughout BC). The website is https://governmentofbc.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=0ecd608e27ec45cd923bdcfeefba00a7 or you can search the Internet for “BC Government Surface Water Monitoring Sites”.

Although the mine has only a small crew on site, Mount Polley continues to host site tours so people can see the remediation work that has been done. Last fall they toured a group from the Global Tailings Review (a group based in Europe), and a group of Williams Lake area teachers organized through MineralsEd.

Mount Polley plans to hold another public tour this summer, so people can visit the site to view the new fish habitat and observe the environmental recovery. The mine will publish notices in the paper and online when a date has been set for their next public tour. Stay tuned!

Don Parsons, chief operating officer, Imperial Metals.


Do you have a comment about this story? email:
editor@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

mining

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

Just Posted

Interior Health reported 79 new cases of COVID-19 and two new death in the region Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt/Juneau Empire)
79 new COVID-19 cases, two deaths reported in Interior Health

Both of Friday’s deaths were both recorded at long-term care homes

Esk’etemc First Nation (Alkali Lake) Chief Fred Robbins takes part in Secwepemc Health Caucus’s “Raising Our Spirits” ceremony Friday, Jan. 22. (Secwepemc Health Caucus Facebook image)
Secwepemc Nation raises spirits through song

More than 150 join virtual ceremony

Susan Hill with her dog Sadie enjoy a brisk walk this week at Scout Island where the lake is beginning to freeze over as overnight and daytime temperatures remain well below zero. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Overnight lows of -18C in the forecast for Williams Lake Friday

Colder temperatures will persist through the weekend and next week

Email editor@wltribune.com
LETTERS: Worship can take place outside of churches

Williams Lake city council needs to mind its own business

Toronto Public Health nurse Lalaine Agarin sets up for mass vaccination clinic in Toronto, Jan. 17, 2021. B.C. is set to to begin its large-scale immunization program for the general public starting in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
B.C.’s COVID-19 mass vaccinations expected to start in April

Clinics to immunize four million people by September

Sunnybank in Oliver. (Google Maps)
Sunnybank long-term care in Oliver reports third COVID-19 death

The facility currently has an outbreak with 35 cases attached to it

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a daily briefing in Ottawa. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld)
31 cases of COVID-19 variants detected in Canada: Health officials

Dr. Theresa Tam made announces 13 more variant COVID-19 cases in Canada

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Kamloops’ Royal Inland Hospital surgical unit

Despite 6 South being a surgical unit, RIH said surgeries are continuing at the hospital

Daily COVID-19 cases reported to each B.C. health region, to Jan. 20, 2021. Island Health in blue, Northern Health green, Interior Health orange, Vancouver Coastal in red and Fraser Health in purple. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate stays stable with 508 cases Friday

Vaccine delivered to more than 110,000 high-risk people

The District of Saanich’s communications team decided to take part in a viral trend on Thursday and photoshopped U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders into a staff meeting photo. (District of Saanich/Twitter)
Bernie Sanders makes guest appearance municipal staff meeting in B.C.

Vancouver Island firefighters jump on viral trend of photoshopped U.S. senator

School District 57 headquarters in Prince George. (Mark Nielsen, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter)
Prince George school district settles with sexual abuse victim

Terms were part of an out-of-court settlement reached with Michael Bruneau, nearly four years after he filed a lawsuit

Surrey provincial court. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
New COVID-19 protocols set for provincial courthouses

The new rules were issued on Jan. 21, and took effect immediately

Most Read