Good news, the BC government, partnering with the Williams Lake and Soda Creek Bands, has launched an independent engineering investigation and inquiry into the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond breach.
The study is intended to find out exactly what happened, ensuring it never happens again, and to move on with remediation plans to protect and preserve the environment.
According to reports, Mines Minister Bill Bennett says this is a step toward restoring public trust in the mining industry.
Surely Mr. Bennett knows the public is equally mistrustful of his government’s role in this sorry affair.
Some, and Mr. Bennett was one of them, have downplayed the spill, inferring it isn’t really a disaster.
Well, according to Wikipedia, a disaster is a “serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society involving widespread human, material, economic or environmental losses and impacts, which exceeds the ability of the affected community or society to cope using its own resources.”
Imperial Metals must have disaster in mind or the company wouldn’t be raising $100 million “to cope” with the mess.
No doubt mine employees, contractors, local business persons, and residents of the impacted area see the spill as a “serious disruption” in their lives.
Hopefully it’s just a disruption. Only time will tell what the environmental story will be.
I have some questions of course.
If the mine can get the tailings pond secured to everyone’s satisfaction, can it begin operating again or will it have to wait until the cleanup is complete?
A number of different groups are taking water and crud samples. Is there any plan to get them all together for comparison?
Why has there been such silence from the federal government?
And what about city council? Isn’t it worse losing a mine you have than not getting one you wanted? (A bird in the hand …)
Diana French is a freelance columnist for the Tribune. She is a former Tribune editor, retired teacher, historian, and book author.