Majority of Mt. Polley employees are back to work as the mine resumes 24/7 operations.
President of United Steelworkers Local 1-425, Paul French says the excitement had slowly been building for him.
“Actually it kind of caught me off guard that it was big news because we’ve been kind of dealing with this partially every week,” he said.
“They’ve been calling more people back and then they just made the decision it wasn’t viable to run half the shifts-they needed to run the full shifts.”
Imperial Metals Vice President of Corporate Affairs Steve Robertson says although they have been working under the same restricted operation permit they received in July, the logistics of working the mine during the winter are different than in the summer.
“If we leave the operations sit for a full week and we get a cold snap that can create a lot of problems for us-anything from frozen water pipes to frozen up stockpiles and things like that,” Robertson says.
“The best way to keep the operation moving smoothly is to have the stockpiles moving and the water going through the pipes.”
Robertson says this does not change the restrictions of their current operating permit which limits the mine to process 4 million tonnes of ore-half of what they would normally process in a year and adds this will assist the mine in requiring the permits it needs to transition into full-time operations by the spring.
A short term water management plan for the mine to discharge treated water into Quesnel Lake is still awaiting approval from a statutory decision-maker.