BC Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett.

BC Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett.

Code changes made for tailings impoundments

Changes to B.C.’s mining codes for the safety of tailings storage facilities were introduced by B.C.’s Minister of Energy and Mines.

Changes to B.C.’s mining codes for the safety of tailings storage facilities were introduced by B.C.’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett Wednesday.

The changes include seven recommendations made from the Independent Expert Engineering Panel’s investigation report into the Aug. 4, 2014 Mount Polley tailings storage facility (TSF) breach, Bennett told reporters during a press conference.

“These changes ensure that the mining code includes design standards for TSFs that are tailored to the particular conditions encountered in B.C.,” Bennett said.

“The changes for the TSFs and dam safety emphasize the protection of the public and the environment. The Mount Polley disaster was unprecedented for B.C., but it did happen. We have now taken steps to ensure that such a disaster can never happen again in British Columbia.”

Updates to the TSF portion of the mining code include new design and operations criteria that specify requirements for the steepness of downstream slopes, the minimum static factor of safety and new seismic and flood design criteria, and water balance and water management plans.

B.C.’s chief inspector of mines Al Hoffman joined Bennett for the conference and said his ministry has responded to each of the independent investigation panel’s recommendations.

“We will now require all existing mines in B.C. with TSFs to establish an independent tailings review board by Dec. 31, 2016,” Hoffman said.

“In addition the terms of reference and membership of the review boards must be approved by myself as the chief inspector of mines.”

Each mine will also be required to submit an annual report that includes an overview of its independent review board’s activities. All the reports will be posted online.

Hoffman said mine managers have until Sept. 30, 2016 to notify him what engineer of record has been retained by the mine and who at the mine has been designated as responsible for safe management of the TSF.

“We are also giving mine managers until Dec. 31, 2016, to have a water balance and water management plan prepared by a qualified person,” he added.

So far the government has addressed 20 of the 26 recommendations from the independent expert panel and the Chief Inspector of Mines (CIM) reports.

“The remaining CIM recommendations will be complete by the end of the summer of 2017,” Hoffman said, noting the government is also working on implementing the 17 recommendations made by the auditor general’s report.

Bennett said the target for implementing and enforcing the health and safety revisions to the mining code is early 2017.

“The public will have an opportunity to make comments on that until the end of September,” he added.

Bennett told the Tribune additional staff will be hired within the Ministry of Energy and Mines to implement all of the recommendations from all three reports.

“We are going to need more resources and I think that government has to recognize that this small ministry and the people working within it have been working really hard for decades,” Bennett said.

“It’s time we recognize we can’t do it with the people that we have there. The answer is yes we are going to need more resources.”


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

Just Posted

Cariboo North MLA Coralee Oakes shared this photo of the binders and binders of letters and paperwork she’s received on area roads in the past few years. (Submitted photo)
Cariboo MLAs call on province to fix region’s roads

Minister Rob Fleming said more resources were on the way to the region

Royal Canadian Legion Branch 139 president David Brideau salutes the Cenotaph at city hall during a past Remembrance Day services in Williams Lake Monday, Nov. 11. Brideau, who served three years with the Canadian military in Edmonton, was the parade commander during the Legion’s Remembrance Day service. (Angie Mindus file photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Williams Lake legion looks to upgrade lounge, patio, to be COVID compliant

Upgrades will require significant financial investment, Branch 139 president David Brideau said

Williams Lake’s Daine Dubois (left) and 150 Mile House’s Isaac Bedford have been named as recipients of the 2020 Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport. (Tribune file photos)
Two Cariboo athletes honoured with Premier’s Award for Indigenous Youth Excellence in Sport

“You have honoured the province, your nations, and your families.”

A worker at Gibraltar Mine north of Williams Lake. (Taseko Mines Ltd. photo)
B.C. Mining Month celebrates innovation

Mining has long been important to the Williams Lake economy

(The Canadian Press)
Trudeau won’t say whether Canada supports patent waiver for COVID-19 vaccines

‘Canada is at the table to help find a solution’

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

Edmonton Oilers’ Connor McDavid (97) celebrates his 100th point this season with Leon Draisaitl (29) against the Vancouver Canucks during second period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 8, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Edmonton superstar McDavid hits 100-point mark as Oilers edge Canucks 4-3

NHL scoring leader needs just 53 games to reach century mark

A map showing where the most number of cases were recorded from April 23 to 29. This map, revealing a breakdown of infections by neighborhood, was pulled from a data package leaked to the Vancouver Sun last week (and independently verified).
36 Abbotsford schools flagged for COVID-19 exposures in the last 2 weeks, shattering record

Clearbrook Elementary recorded an ‘exposure’ on all 11 school days

Canada’s chief public health officer is reminding Canadians even those who are fully vaccinated are not immune from transmitting the COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns full vaccination does not equal full protection from COVID-19

Post-inoculation, Theresa Tam says the risk of asymptomatic infection and transmission is far lower but not obsolete

The dash cam footage, taken May 7 at 8:18 a.m. belonged to the driver of a southbound vehicle that recently travelled out of the tunnel. (Reddit/Screen grab)
VIDEO: Dash cam captures dramatic rollover crash on Highway 99

Only one person sustained injuries from the collision, says B.C. Ambulance Services

Chevy stranded on a ledge above a rocky canyon at Mimi Falls near Logan Lake, April 28, 2021. (Photo credit: Margot Wikjord)
Police officer and fire chief team up in risky rescue of stranded dog near Logan Lake

Chevy, a rescue dog, needed rescuing again after getting stuck on a ledge above rocky canyon

Police were on the scene of a fatal shooting in Abbotsford. (Black Press Media files)
B.C. government to give more than $8 million for programs to curb gang violence

221 not-for-profit projects led by local governments and school districts among others will receive a one-time grant

Most Read