The Canadian Province of British Columbia (BC) has introduced new mining code revisions in an effort to eliminate disasters such as the Mount Polley tailings pond collapse that occurred in August 2014.
The revisions are set to put BC at the forefront of global standards for safety of tailings storage facilities (TSFs) at mines.
The code is the primary vehicle for regulation of the province’s mining industry for all stages of a mine’s life, including closure and reclamation.
BC Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said: “With these updates to the mining code, along with the new site characterisation guidelines from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC, British Columbians can have confidence that our standards for tailings storage facilities are as good as exists anywhere in the world.
“The Mount Polley disaster was unprecedented for British Columbia, but it did happen. We have now taken steps to ensure that such a disaster can never happen again in British Columbia.”
Implementation of seven recommendations from the Independent Expert Engineering Panel’s investigation into Mount Polley incident ordered by Bennett in June last year is now complete.
Following the investigation, the panel made seven recommendations in order to prevent such incidents in future.
The report released by the panel in January last year into the failure cause, also included release of 35,000 pages of documentation related to the panel’s investigation.
The new mining code is in line with the panel’s recommendations and includes design standards for TSFs that are tailored to the particular conditions encountered in BC.
Through these revisions, the government has addressed 20 of the 26 recommendations from the independent expert panel and chief inspector of mines’ reports.
Tailings Technical Review sub-committee chair Klohn Crippen Berger said: “The revised mining code sets an international standard for regulators and dam owners to assure the safety for tailings dams for protection of the public and the environment."