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Mount Polley mine expected to open by fall 2021: Imperial Metals

The reopening will create about 300 full-time mining jobs
When he’s not at work, Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch tries his hand at gold panning in the summer months. (Photo submitted)

Mount Polley Mine owners are aiming to restart the copper and gold mine by September 2021.

“We’re keen to get opened,” Brian Kynoch, president of Imperial Metal, confirmed in an interview with the Williams Lake Tribune.

“Both gold and copper prices are up so we’d like to get the plant and the mine operating again.”

Mount Polley mine has been on care and maintenance status since May 2019 due to falling copper prices.

The restart of the mine, located about 93 kilometres east of Williams Lake, will provide about 300 new, full-time mining jobs in the region once it is fully operational, Kynoch confirmed.

He acknowledged they would be further along to reopening if it weren’t for COVID-19.

“We’d like this third wave of the pandemic to settle down, so we’re hoping to get going once everyone in B.C. who wants to has a chance to get vaccinated.”

Kynoch said reclamation work following the 2014 breach on Hazeltine Creek and Edney Creek is nearing completion.

“The fish are back in and results so far show the creek is even more productive than it was before.”

Mount Polley Mine’s water management plan includes a water treatment plant on site which then empties treated water into Quesnel Lake.

“We would expect that to continue,” he said.

As a child, Kynoch grew up around mining near Ashcroft with his father working for what is now Highland Valley Copper and Gold Mine.

Kynoch attended UBC to become a civil engineer, working summers in exploration in NWT and throughout B.C., including the Red Chris area.

“I always wanted to work in mining from the time I was a kid.”

Kynoch named two things he likes about mining.

“One, the ability to do things. The world I think sometimes doesn’t realize everything we have has little bits of metal in it, down to our cell phones which we all think of as a critical part of our lives now, and without a bit of copper in them they wouldn’t work. So it’s important to our lifestyle, the metals we mine,” he said.

“And I’ve always liked the people that are involved in mining. They are good people to be around.”

For Mining Month, Kynoch said he will be busy attending some events virtually due to the pandemic, and working on plans to get Mount Polley open again.

“We are going to do our best to get it open (by September).”

In his free time, Kynoch does dabble in gold panning once a summer while he’s camping.

“The trick is to make sure you go look at all the old mining records and make sure you are at a creek that has gold,” Kynoch said when asked if he had even advice for anyone gold panning.

“No place better to find gold than where it has already been found.”

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Habitat Remediation Working Group takes a tour in 2020 of what was then the newly-constructed confluence of Edney and Hazeltine Creek channels. Mount Polley Mine is expected to reopen by September, 2021. (Photo submitted)

Angie Mindus

About the Author: Angie Mindus

A desire to travel led me to a full-time photographer position at the Williams Lake Tribune in B.C.’s interior.
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