Potential threats of a breach in one of the 35 tailings ponds within the region from Williams Lake to the Yukon border still remains a concern, says a report from the BC First Nations Energy and Mining Council.
CEO Dave Porter, says the report (“Uncertainty Upstream: Potential Threats from Tailings Facility Failures in Northern British Columbia”) was in response to an independent expert panel report that suggested in respect to the way mining is currently done throughout the province, two more such disasters could occur over the next 10 years.
“So what we are saying in this report, is that if we are in danger of additional catastrophes such as we witnessed with Mt. Polley, then it’s our responsibility to get organized, to get prepared, be able to mobilize the efforts of the collective communities to address and mitigate such potential catastrophes.”
Porter says the report also calls for some keys recommendations including superfunds.
He says communities need to be protected by funding mechanisms for unanticipated closures and financial burdens for clean-up.
“One of the things that we’ve learned from Mt. Polley is that there is no legal requirement to establish resources funds to respond to these kinds of disasters.”
“So we’re saying that super funds should be set up and it shouldn’t burden individual companies but all mining companies in British Columbia should have the responsibility to contribute to such a fund.”
The report, which Porter says will allow First Nations build off of, also calls for the establishment of a dam tailings monitoring committee.
You can access the full report here.