Mount Polley

Imperial Metals has received authorisation from British Columbia’s Ministry of Energy and Mines and Ministry of Environment to return Mount Polley mine to normal operations.

The company temporarily suspended the mine operations on 4 August 2014 due to a breach of the tailings storage facility (TSF), which has since been repaired.

Imperial can now use the TSF to resume operations at Mount Polley.

In order to repair and buttress the TSF, Mount Polley has worked with regulatory agencies, First Nations and members of local communities over the past two years.

Investigations by the panel, the Ministry of Energy and Mines, and a team from Golder Associates concurred that a mechanism failure led to the Perimeter Embankment being breached in August.

Prior to authorising the company, all existing TSF embankments were investigated, and foundation conditions throughout were characterised.

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"A return to normal operations is important to the region, as Mount Polley is a significant contributor to the economy."

In January last year, Mount Polley appointed an independent engineering review panel to ensure the TSF is operated in accordance with best applicable practices on an ongoing basis.

The mine has also completed rehabilitation of areas impacted by the breach.

Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch said: "A return to normal operations is important to the region, as Mount Polley is a significant contributor to the economy, directly providing approximately 350 jobs, as well as supporting the local communities of Likely, Williams Lake and the surrounding region.

"Mount Polley is committed to working with First Nations and local communities to complete rehabilitation of the areas impacted by the breach and we thank all those involved in the rehabilitation for the excellent work that has been completed to date."

Image: Mount Polley mine site in British Columbia on 24 July 2014 prior to the dam breach. Photo: courtesy of Jesse Allen.