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

The body of Kenneth Seymour Michell was discovered Jan. 14, 2021, behind a Williams Lake business a day after he was released by a judge on conditions. (Photo submitted)
Family looks for answers after Indigenous man dies by suicide following release from custody

System does not care about Indigenous peoples, says First Nations Leadership Council

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

Interior Health reported 43 new COVID-19 cases in the region Feb. 23, 2021 and no additional deaths. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
43 new cases of COVID reported in Interior Health

No new deaths, Williams Lake outbreak over

A COVID-19 sign is seen last spring at the First Nations community of Canim Lake (Tsq’ scen). (Martina Dopf photo)
Another Canim Lake elder dies of COVID-19

The man was the husband of an elder who died last month outside the community.

Pink Shirt Day is Feb. 24.
This Pink Shirt Day let’s ‘lift each other up’

There are several warning signs regarding bullying:

VIDEO: Lynx grabs lunch in Kamloops

A lynx surprises a group of ducks and picks one off for lunch

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

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

UBC Okanagan students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC.
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UBC Okanagan students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

Oliver Elementary School. (File)
Interior Health reports potential COVID-19 exposure at South Okanagan elementary school

Interior Health lists two dates for the potential exposure

Most Read