Letter: Time to pull together

I am writing this letter in response to the Oct. 18, 2016 letter from Mr. Dale Reimer, Mine Manager at Mount Polley Mine (MPMC).


I am writing this letter in response to the Oct. 18, 2016 letter from Mr. Dale Reimer, Mine Manager at Mount Polley Mine (MPMC), in support of the MPMC Long-Term Water Management Plan and Technical Assessment Report (TAR) application.

Local residents are aware that water must be discharged from the mine site, but as was promised by Imperial Metals in the first public meetings in the 1990s, there was to be no direct discharge of mine water into Quesnel Lake (QL).

MPMC has previously discharged mine water to the environment via local watersheds, and when the breach occurred, was in the process of permitting another discharge into Polley Lake and Hazeltine Creek.

This treated water may have been naturally attenuated (to lessen possible negative impacts) before it reached QL.

MPMC would also have been using reverse osmosis, a true Best Available Technology, and not the simple settling technology they are using now.

The MPMC technical report is a flawed document in that it does not differentiate discharge options between the present (“interim” as MPMC describes it) mine operation phase, and the final Closure and Reclamation phase.

In addition, the plan only includes meeting the BC Water Quality Guidelines (BCWQG), and does not include returning QL back to the pristine water body it was prior to the 2014 dam breach. Even at that, MPMC requires a 100 metre initial dilution zone (IDZ) in QL to ensure that the pipe discharge water meets the BCWQG, which is significantly higher in a number of Contaminants of Potential Concern (COPC) and other criteria, than the natural background levels of the previously pristine QL water.

Distributed discharge and natural attenuation through the local watersheds is a commendable goal for post-closure, but the only viable and quickly implemented options for discharging the mine effluent during the operational phase are QL or Quesnel River (QR).

Relative to QR, the west arm of QL is a static and fragile water body with three months or more water retention time.

The QR is more dynamic and fast moving and the discharge water will quickly mix and be diluted by the Cariboo and Fraser river waters.

The TAR reports three to four- years of mine operations before they start an expected two-year transition to the closure plan, but it is well known that MPMC has long-term ore reserves that will extend operations 10 to 20 years or more into the future. What is going to happen to QL, still trying to recover from the effects of the 30 million m3 dam breach, as up to 10 million m3/year of mine waste water is dumped into the lake for potentially up to 20 years or more?

The present temporary discharge into QL was agreed to by locals as an interim measure only, to assist the mine in handling a water problem of their own making.

It was agreed at that time that MPMC would develop a plan for discharging the water into QR.

MPMC in the present options analysis has not seriously included local suggestions and concerns, because, as they did not like the feedback they were receiving, they cut off the options analysis consultation meetings.

MPMC and Imperial Metals have been a positive benefit to local communities, and their support for community projects is appreciated and acknowledged.

I and many other residents around the lake fully support the operation of Mount Polley Mine, but not at the expense of continued degradation of Quesnel Lake. If MPMC truly take “…responsibility to our community and the environment…” seriously, then the QR discharge option is fully attainable, even though more expensive and technically challenging, and it will then hopefully ensure that QL can be returned back to its pre-breach pristine condition as quickly as possible.

To pull a quote from a letter by another Likely resident back in 2014, all of us, the public and residents, the First Nations, the government, regulators and the mine, should “… pull together as a family for the future of our children … and many generations to follow.”

Doug Watt, Likely Chamber Liaison



Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

The Williams Lake Trail Riders Arena is slated to have a new roof installed this spring after funding from the province’s Community Economic Recovery Infrastructure Program. (Greg Sabatino photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Trail Riders Arena, stable stalls, to get new roof at Stampede Grounds

Some of the stalls currently aren’t able to be rented out due to leaks in the roof

A sign is seen this past summer outside Yunesit’in Government office west of Williams Lake reminding visitors and members to stay safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Yunesit’in First Nation completes second round of vaccinations

A total of 26 people have since recovered from COVID-19 after having tested positive

A 100 Mile RCMP officer stands watch at the intersction of Highway 97 and Horse Lake Road. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Volunteers, police search Highway 97 for articles related to high-speed chase

Search will stretch from Canco Gas Station in Lac La Hache to 150 Mile House.

An aerial photograph captures snowmobile tracks in the Cameron Ridge area earlier this year, which is closed to snowmobilers. The closures are in place to protect sensitive caribou herds. (Conservation Officer Service photo)
Snowmobilers fined for operating in closed caribou habitat near Likely, B.C.

The investigation revealed they had spent several hours in the closure leaving extensive tracks

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

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

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Most Read