Breach a catastrophic event

The breach of the Mount Polley Mines tailings facility is a catastrophic spill of heavy metals and toxic waste by-products.


The breach of the Mount Polley Mines tailings facility is a catastrophic spill of heavy metals and toxic waste by-products into a pure watershed.

Polley Lake, Bootjack, Gavin, and Quesnel Lakes, as well as Hazeltine Creek and Cariboo Creek are affected, as are the surrounding lands and the salmon run crucial to First Nations people.

It’s a disaster of huge proportions. Quesnel Lake, the deepest fjord lake in the world, is a treasure.

The pollution and destruction caused by this spill is unforgiveable. This disaster should never have happened; there was insufficient reinforcement of a huge tailings containment lake of toxic sludge, with heavy metals like cadmium, lead, and possibly arsenic and mercury.

Either the engineers were negligent in their assessments of the dam, or they told management that that facilities were insufficient and management chose to ignore them. Either way, there was extreme negligence, and those responsible should be prosecuted. Imperial Metals could be fined a billion dollars, and the mine shut down permanently. The $150 million bond posted by them will not be enough to cover the cost of reclamation.

The water from Quesnel Lake will possibly wash out some of the poisons, but the full scope of this disaster is being downplayed by the media, who are the tools of government.

It is a common theme with industry that they take their valued products and leave toxic wastes behind. Mount Polley Mine and Gibraltar have been allowed to monitor their own tailings facilities, like foxes being put in charge of the hen house.

Mining is all about money and profits. They are aided and abetted by government, who make huge revenues from mining and the tax dollars they reap from the highly-paid workers, who can earn up to $120,000 for six months work.

The media downplays the extreme dangers associated with mining, LNG production, pipelines, tankers, and trains that transport their poisonous products. Money rules the earth, and industry is well on their way to destroying the planet.

This was one of many reasons we stood up against the Prosperity Mine, with the inevitable pollution of the Fish Creek watershed.

There should be an impartial, independent inquiry into this disaster by Environment Canada.

The extent of this disaster is at this time undetermined, as are the effects upon the surrounding land, waterways, fish and wildlife.

Michael Atwood

Williams Lake

Editor’s note: On Monday, Aug. 18, Minister of Mines Bill Bennett announced there would be an independent inquiry of the incident.

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