Energy and Mines minister Bill Bennett said he’s hopeful to have good news Friday regarding the temporary reopening of Mount Polley Mine.
“We are in a position now whether to accept the company’s application to restart for formal review,” Bennett told the Tribune Thursday. “If the application is accepted it will be referred out immediately to the Cariboo Region Mine Review Committee. There will be a final decision made Friday.”
The final decision rests with a statutory decision maker, however, Bennett said his staff has told him the company’s restart plan is high quality and looks promising.
If accepted the committee will begin to review the application on March 30, coinciding with a 30-day public consultation period that will conclude on April 29.
“You can see that we’re trying to keep a very expeditious time line,” Bennett said, however, he warned even with intensive resources being applied by government, permits wouldn’t be granted until early June.
Bennett praised MLA Donna Barnett and Minister Coralee Oakes for their daily push to have the mine start up again.
Two reports on the Aug. 4, 2014 tailings impoundment breach are still pending, including one from the Chief Inspector of Mines and rgw Conservation Officer Service.
In the meantime, government is acting on the recommendations made by the Independent Investigation Panel in its report released in January.
“We can’t just do business as usual. Our obligation is to learn from what happened and to learn from the report,” Bennet said.
A reopening would be for more than six months but less than a year. Details will be shared if the application is accepted.
Mount Polley will host a community meeting in Likely on Wednesday, April 1, from 7 to 9 p.m.