A March 11th decision by the Ministry of Environment to allow Mt. Polley to bypass their a $2 million dollar water treatment plant has been well thought out according to Imperial Metals.
Steve Robertson, Vice President of Corporate Affairs, says the most rigid permitting anywhere in the world is right here in BC.
“So all of these things are very well thought out to make sure that there’s going to be full protection to the environment and that’s the case here. We’ve got water that’s effectively treated in the mill facility and then provided ample opportunity to settle to get the total suspended solids down to an acceptable level.”
Robertson says that effectively does the same thing that the water treatment plant does through the veolia process.
As for a water sample from April 4th reflecting an exceedance for copper which resulted in all discharging being brought to a halt, Robertson says it shows that the system does works.
“And that’s exactly what happened. We did some retesting, and I’ve been out of town this past week, but from my understanding is that the rechecks have found that the water is back in compliance and we’re good to go.”
Robertson says the measure to bypass the water treatment plant is temporary and that it’s only until the end of July.
He says ordering another plant would have taken several months with the current permit expired and that their long term water management plan would already be in place, adding that the bypass is being done to protect the environment because they don’t want to have any more build up of water than necessary on site.
Meanwhile on Friday’s decision for Mt. Polley to extract more ore, Robertson calls it really good news.
“This keeps everybody who is working out at the Mt. Polley mine employed, so that we can continue to make sure that we do full consultation with the local first nations and local community on the plan to restart full operations.”
Robertson adds that it also gives them the time that is necessary to continue working with the community to make sure that all the studies are completed to the level that is required to give them full assurance that the plan going forward is the right one.
Statutory decision-makers authorized an amendment of the restricted operations permit to increase the mine’ s allowable production level from 4 million tonnes to 5 million tonnes of ore.
A decision on the Mine’s application to return to full production is anticipated by this summer.