All but three B.C. companies with tailing impoundments met the Dec. 1 deadline to submit independent dam safety inspection reports, the Ministry of Energy and Mines said.
Normally permitted mines are required to conduct a dam safety inspection each year, but when the tailings impoundment breached at Mount Polley Mine on Aug. 4, releasing 17 million cubic metres of water and 8 million cubic metres of tailings, Chief Inspector of Mines Al Hoffman issued an order requiring every mining facility in the province submit reports by the deadline.
Currently there are 98 permitted tailing impoundments at 60 operating and closed metal and coal mines in the province.
“Two companies, Dankoe Mines and May Mac (Golden Dawn), did not meet the deadline,” said ministry spokesperson David Haslam. “Qualified professionals were not available to complete their reports by the deadline. These two mines requested and received extensions.”
The ministry is working with a third company, Shasta Sable Resources, to ensure they comply with the order and complete the safety inspection, he added.
“We recognize that the compressed timeframe for companies to provide these reports has presented some challenges for the industry given that there are a limited number of engineering firms with the expertise and knowledge required to do this type of report.”
All of the reports submitted by the companies will now be reviewed by the ministry and Hatch Ltd., the company awarded a $305,000 contract to help review, to ensure consistency and compliance, work with First Nations and establish a platform to release all submissions to the public in approximately eight weeks.
Haslam said all of the inspection reports will be made public with the release of the report from the geotechnical engineers at Hatch Ltd. and as part of its contract, Hatch Ltd. will also develop an online database that will enable the public to easily access these and future reports.