The deadline for the Province to file charges under the BC Environmental Management Act against Imperial Metals for the devastating 2014 Mt Polley tailings pond breach is Friday, and will likely be missed.
Chief of the BC Conservation Officer Service, Chris Doyle says although the investigation continues full steam ahead, it will not conclude this week, therefore, missing tomorrow’s deadline.
“People need to be reassured that the investigation is continuing. There is no deadline, statue of limitation under the Fisheries Act which is 5 years.”
24 million cubic meters of mining waste was sent into nearby waterways from the August 4, 2014 event. The collapse of the dam according to two reports by B.C’s Chief Inspector of Mines and an independent panel of engineering experts was due to critical design flaws.
“B.C.’s Conservation Officer Service is actively working alongside federal agencies on a complex and thorough investigation. While the three-year anniversary of the disaster also brings us to the statute of limitations on provincial charges, British Columbians should know the overall objective continues to be ensuring a complete investigation,” said Environment and Climate Change Strategy Minister George Heyman.
“All of the information gathered during the course of this investigation will be considered by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada should charges be recommended. Potential charges under the federal fisheries act remain very much in play and, in fact, potential penalties are more significant.”
Statutory decision makers with the Ministry of Energy and Mines had authorized the Mount Polley Mine to return to full operations using the repaired and strengthened tailings storage facility (TSF) to manage tailings on June 23, 2016.