B.C. mine inspector gives OK for Mount Polley dam rebuild after tailings breach

VICTORIA – British Columbia’s chief inspector of mines is allowing the owner of the Mount Polley mine to start repairs on the tailings pond that breached, sending a surge of mine waste and water into nearby lakes and rivers.

The Ministry of Energy and Mines says the approval only allows the company to fix the breach and doesn’t allow Imperial Metals Corp (TSX:III) to restart its ore-processing operation.

The government says the repair work will ensure that the increased water flow from melting snow this spring won’t result in further environmental or human-health impacts.

The amendment plan was reviewed by the several groups, including government, the Williams Lake Indian Band, The Cariboo Regional District, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans and the community of Likely — the town closest to the spill.

When the dam burst on the August long weekend, 24 million cubic metres of mine waste and water gushed into nearby waterways, forcing local residents to bring in their drinking water.

The mine’s owner is responsible for the entire cost of the clean-up effort, the environmental remediation and the site restoration, which the public heard last month will likely take years.