Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine in Canada set to resume operations

7 June 2015 (Last Updated June 7th, 2015 18:30)

Imperial Metals' gold and copper mine Mount Polley in British Columbia, Canada, is expected to resume operations by the end of the month after closing in August 2014 due to a dam disaster.

Mount Polley

Imperial Metals' gold and copper mine Mount Polley in British Columbia, Canada, is expected to resume operations by the end of the month after closing in August 2014 due to a dam disaster.

A dam failure at the mine caused 24 million cubic metres of silt, with spillages of polluted water into nearby lakes and rivers.

Following the flooding, the level of Polley Lake rose by 1.5m and contaminated water spilled into nearby Quesnel Lake and Cariboo Creek.

The main problem was due to a foundation embankment failure, according to independent panel that was set-up to investigate into the tailings pond breach at the mine.

The panel also reviewed all tailings ponds in British Columbia.

British Columbia energy and mines minister Bill Bennett said: "They have provided all of the information that the Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Energy and Mines has requested.

"Information is being evaluated and as long as they have provided everything we need, they'll get a permit to re-open probably by the end of June."

"That information is being evaluated and as long as they have provided everything we need, they'll get a permit to re-open probably by the end of June."

Imperial Metals is said to have invested nearly C$70m ($56m) to clean up the damage caused.

When the Mount Polley mine disaster took place in the Cariboo region, several water tests were conducted, which showed high levels of selenium, arsenic and other metals similar to historical tests before the disaster.

A final report on the dam failure was published on 31 January.


Image: Aerial view of the earthen dam at Mount Polley mine. Photo: courtesy of Visible Earth, Nasa.