The Minister of Energy and Mines says it’s good to have Thursday’s report from the Chief Inspector of Mines on the 2014 Mt. Polley breach.
Bill Bennett says that although practices on the mine site could have been better, it did not cause the August 4th incident.
“The practices that could have been done better probably led to additional water and tailings leaving the tailings storage facility and of course additional environmental damage, so we have to figure out how we can change the mining code and how the Canadian Dam Association and the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists can change their guidelines for their professionals.”
Yesterday’s report, as did the Independent Expert Panel in January, concluded that the dam failed because the strength and location of a layer of clay underneath the dam were not taken into account in the design or in subsequent dam raises.
Bennett says government will be working to implement all 19 recommendations, which include all mines with tailings storage facilities required to have a designated mine dam safety manager.
“The code is being reviewed right now by a group of people constituted by First Nations, by the mine union representatives, by government folks, and by engineers. Once that code review is done in early 2016, we’ll be taking all of that into the legislature and passing some legislation.”
Bennett says he also plans to introduce legislation next year to give Ministry staff the power to issue penalties for non-compliance.
Compliance and enforcement tools under the Mines Act are presently limited to shutting down a mine through the cancellation of a permit, issuance of stop-work orders, or pursuing prosecutions.