Imperial to raise $92m to clean-up Mount Polley mine spill in British Columbia

17 August 2014 (Last Updated August 17th, 2014 18:30)

Imperial Metals is planning to raise C100m ($92m) through debts to clean-up a spill following a breach at the tailings pond dam at its Mount Polley copper and gold mine in British Columbia, in early August.

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Imperial Metals is planning to raise C100m ($92m) through debts to clean-up a spill following a breach at the tailings pond dam at its Mount Polley copper and gold mine in British Columbia, in early August.

The company said in a statement: "While the precise costs of remediation and repair are presently unknown, the company believes that the costs can be managed over time given the underlying value of the company's assets and by the resources provided by the additional financing, together with insurance proceeds."

Imperial's largest shareholder and Canadian Natural Resources chair Murray Edwards is planning to help the company raise the funds by buying C40m ($36.7m) worth of the six-year unsecured convertible debentures.

In addition, Edwards' Edco Capital and Fairholme Partnership will also buy $36.7m worth of debentures.

"The MEM is also currently working to establish a process for third-party inspections of every tailings impoundment in the province."

According to some analysts, the clean-up costs could be between C50m ($45.9m) and C500m ($459.7m).

Following the incident, the company had placed its mine on care and maintenance, resulting in a loss of production.

The spill also affected the company's plan to open its new Red Chris copper and gold mine in British Columbia, which was scheduled to start in September.

The Red Chris mine is still awaiting approval from the Red Chris Environmental Management Act to allow discharging effluents to the tailings impoundment.

The officials of British Colombia Government and Cariboo Regional District (CRD) have announced plans to investigate the breach at the tailings pond and help in the recovery efforts.

British Columbia Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) said in a statement: "The MEM is also currently working to establish a process for third-party inspections of every tailings impoundment in the province and looking at options to enable an independent investigation of the failure of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine.

"This independent investigation into the breach would be in addition to the ongoing investigation by the chief inspector of mines and the COS."


Image: Quesnel Lake near the mouth of Hazeltine Creek in British Columbia, Canada. Photo: courtesy of Province of British Columbia.

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