It was a good turnout Wednesday evening at a community meeting in Likely with representatives from Imperial Metals, Ministry of Environment, and Golder Associates in attendance to share updates and discuss short and long-term water discharge options at Mt. Polley.
Steve Robertson, Vice President of Corporate Affairs with Imperial Metals, says Quesnel River was added as a long-term option for discharge after receiving significant suggestion from the community.
“It does meet a lot of the criteria that would be needed for considering it as a long-term option.”
“So we put on the table as an official option and it will be given its due consideration.”
Robertson says in terms of the short-term options that are available, all of them include the water being discharged into Quesnel Lake one way or another.
“Either through a pipeline in a couple of different ways or else through Hazeltine Creek.”
“We think that they’re all quite viable and we’ll be taking a close look at the different options and what their merits are and hopefully come up with a decision fairly soon.”
A geotechnical assessment is expected to be submitted to the Ministry of Environment before the end of this month, which Hubert Bunce says depending on when it is received could potentially delay a decision on the mine’s temporary restart until the middle of July.
As for the work that is now complete, Robertson says the Hazeltine Creek channel is completely reconstructed and that the effects they saw were immediate.
“The water is now very clear going down Hazeltine Creek which is really pleasant to see.”
“It’s very vindicating for us to be able to see these construction projects get completed and actually work the way they’re supposed to.”
“There’s still a lot of work to do with rehab that includes a lot of the banks and so on, but the actual channel reconstruction is done which is a big milestone for us.”
Robertson adds that mother nature is very resilient, following Lee Nichols with Golder Associates confirming that they had discovered plants coming up on their own through the tailings.
“We saw signs of that last year as well with a lot of the wild raspberries and so on and in areas that had been scoured. We’re seeing it again this year.”
“There’s a lot of the willows that were in the path of the debris flow have actually come back and they’re fully leafed out now and look like they’re going to be completely healthy.”
“It’s really good to see how strong nature is coming back.”
Robertson says they are hopeful they will get a good number of employees who were laid off back at the mine should Mt. Polley be granted a temporary restart of operations; a similar comment which drew applause from those in attendance by Executive Officer, Lyn Anglin.