Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett visits steelworkers on the Northwest Transmission Line

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.”

 

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

Just Posted

The city of Williams Lake has received provincial funding for a proposed boardwalk connecting the RC Cotton Trail to the River Valley Recreational Trail. (City of Williams Lake rough visualization of the proposal)
$550,000 provincial funding announced for Williams Lake boardwalk trail

The boardwalk will connect the new RC Cotton Trail to the river valley

100 Mile RCMP Staff-Sgt. Svend Nielsen. (Patrick Davies photo, 100 Mile Free Press).
100 Mile RCMP investigate theft at airport hangar

Incident is one of 89 calls attended by police from Feb. 17 to 23.

Williams Lake city council is interested in acquiring the former Poplar Glade School property on Eleventh Avenue. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake city council sets sights on two former school properties

School District said there is a five-step process for property disposal

School District 27 (SD27) issued notice Thursday, Feb. 25 of a COVID-19 exposure at Mountview Elementary School. (Angie Mindus photo)
School district reports positive COVID-19 case in Williams Lake elementary school

A letter went home to families of Mountview Elementary School

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

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

The BC Prosecution Service announced last year that it was appointing lawyer Marilyn Sandford as a special prosecutor to review the case, following media inquiries about disclosure issues linked to a pathologist involved in the matter. (Black Press Media files)
Possible miscarriage of justice in B.C. woman’s conviction in toddler drowning: prosecutor

Tammy Bouvette was originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty in 2013 to the lesser charge

A kid in elementary school wearing a face mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Metro Creative)
Union asks why an elementary school mask rule wouldn’t work in B.C. if it does elsewhere

B.C. education minister announced expansion of mask-wearing rules in middle, high school but not elementary students

A pharmacist prepares a COVID-19 vaccine at Village Green Retirement Campus in Federal Way on Jan. 26. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
Canada approves use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

The country joins more than a dozen others in giving the shot the green light

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Carolyn Howe, a kindergarten teacher and vice president of the Greater Victoria Teachers’ Association, says educators are feeling the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic and the influx of pressure that comes with it. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Stress leave, tears and insomnia: B.C. teachers feel the strain of COVID-19

Teachers still adjusting to mask and cleaning rules, pressures from outside and within

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Most Read