Early in the morning on Monday August 4, a terrible and tragic incident occurred at the Mt. Polley Mine site. An estimated 10 million cubic metres of water and another 4.5 million cubic metres of fine sand were released into Polley Lake.
This incident is unquestionably serious and that is why we will be devoting all of the necessary resources to assist local officials in their efforts to mitigate the impact of this tailings breach to impacted communities and the surrounding environment.
The Government of B.C. through the Ministry of Energy and Mines, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure and Emergency Management BC are working around the clock with local authorities and Mt. Polley Mine executives to ensure a quick and effective response to the event.
We are still in the early stages, but until all environmental impact assessments have been conducted, please adhere to the water ban as issued by the Cariboo Regional District in Quesnel Lake, Cariboo Creek, Hazeltine Creek and Polley Lake area including the Quesnel and Cariboo Rivers’ right into the Fraser.
On Tuesday, I conducted a tour of the breach site along with fellow Cariboo MLA Coralee Oakes. There is no doubt that it was incredibly difficult to see first hand what has occurred at the site. This event should have never of happened and we will determine the cause of the breach and prevent anything like this from ever happening again.
As the situation is changing rapidly, please contact the Cariboo Regional District public information line at 250-398-5581 or visit their website at cariboord.bc.ca.
As Ministry of Energy and Mines inspectors are at the mine site conducting investigations, and Ministry of Environment staff will continue to conduct water tests in our region the Government of B.C. will be providing updates and more information to the public as it becomes available.
Donna Barnett is the Liberal MLA for Cariboo-Chilcotin.