Imperial Metals has been granted a permit to discharge water from tailings dam – Mount Polley mine
The provincial government has granted Imperial Metals’ (TSX:III) Mount Polley mine a short-term permit to release treated water from a tailings dam.
The volume of water behind the dam has been rising and concerns had been raised in recent weeks about what could happen as snow melts and its capacity is exceeded.
“In accordance with the approved short-term water treatment and discharge permit, treated water will be discharged into Hazeltine Creek and flow into a sediment pond,” the government said in a November 30 news release.
“From there, the treated water would enter a pipeline that will discharge approximately 30 to 40 metres below the surface of Quesnel Lake.”
Without releasing this water, the levels in the pit would be exceeded by April 2016, the government said. All discharged water must meet water quality guidelines as set by the Ministry of Environment.
The mine received authorization from the Ministry in July to restart operations on a restricted basis. It is still required to submit its long-term water treatment and discharge plan by June 30, 2016.
Mount Polley’s tailings dam collapsed August 4, 2014, due to what was later found to be a design flaw. The ongoing cleanup will cost Imperial Metals close to $70 million.
Soda Creek First Nation Chief Donna Dixon said last week her people were in support of this water discharge to prevent tailings from entering ground waters.
– With files from Nelson Bennett