MiningWatch Canada has filed a private prosecution naming the province and the Mount Polley Mining Corporation in the mine’s tailing pond breach in 2014.
The breach is said to have led to the largest mine waste disaster in this country’s history.
The watch dog group is filing its suit for what it sees as violations of the federal Fisheries Act, saying spill was caused by negligence on both the Province of B.C. and the Mount Polley Mining Corporation’s parts.
The mine is owned by Imperial Metals.
MiningWatch is taking the action now because after nearly two and a half years, the Crown has failed to lay charges and enforce the Fisheries Act, despite what it calls clear and ample evidence to justify proceeding with charges.
The charges were filed Tuesday morning in Williams Lake Provincial Court with the group using a specific provision of the Canadian Criminal Code.
That provision allows any citizen to initiate a private prosecution if he or she believes they have reasonable grounds that a person has committed an indictable offence.
The next step will be a Process Hearing, which will be set in Provincial Court in Williams Lake within a few weeks.
At that time, MiningWatch will present its evidence in more detail about how MPMC and the Province of B.C. failed to implement minimum safeguards, which led to the spill and to violations of the Fisheries Act.
Once a summons is issued, then a court date will be held to set a trial date.