Imperial Metals shareholders mull lawsuit

Imperial Metals (TSX:III) shareholders are considering suing the mining company over its share price plunge following the massive breach at its Mount Polley tailings pond in central British Columbia on August 4.

Imperial Metals and “certain of its directors, officers and related parties” are named in connection with the investor class-action suit, Siskinds LLP, the law firm representing the shareholders, said in a release.

"The proposed class action is brought on behalf of all persons and entities, wherever they may reside, who acquired Imperial’s shares or notes between August 15, 2011 and August 4, 2014," the Ontario law firm said.

The proposed move to recover investor losses comes as shares in the Vancouver-based miner fell around 40% in the wake of the catastrophic failure of the tailings pond wall at the company’s copper and gold mine near the community of Likely.

The disaster might have been prevented had the company listened to concerns raised by engineers that designed the containment system.

The dam failure released 10 billion litres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of metals-laden fine sand, contaminating several lakes, rivers and creeks in the Cariboo region.

Some of the tailings backed up and blocked the mouth of Polley Lake, which rose at least 1.5 metres as a result.

According to CBC, Imperial metals has provided evidence that water quality is close to historically safe levels and is now conducting a controlled release of water from the lake into Hazeltine Creek.