IMPERIAL METALS – MOUNT POLLEY MINE UPDATE
Statement of Brian Kynoch, President
August 5, 2014:
Thank you for your concern regarding yesterday’s breach of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley Mine.
As soon as I heard the news yesterday, I came to site to assess the situation and support the recovery team. Imperial accepts it is our responsibility to put this right, and we will work diligently to do so. Our first priority was, and continues to be, the health and safety of our employees and neighbours.
I know some media wanted comment from me yesterday. I regret any frustration my unavailablity caused. I am here today to provide meaningful information about the event, our efforts to date and what we have planned moving forward. I will also answer your questions.
The event is now stabilized and mine personnel, contractors, ministry officials and the Cariboo Regional District are working together to ensure that no setbacks are experienced. Working with the Ministries of Forests and Environment, we are now mobilizing crews and equipment to collect and remove floating debris from Quesnel Lake.
The Mount Polley Mine has experienced a major setback as it was entering into a promising phase of extended operations. The breach released approximately 10 million cubic meters of water into Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake. Polley Lake rose approximately 1.5 meters above normal height and steps are being taken to pump excess water into the Springer Pit to start dropping the water level back to normal. Based on the volume of Quesnel Lake, there was no visible rise in water elevation.
We know Hazeltine Creek was scoured through its entire length leaving eroded banks. Access roads to this creek have been blocked and the creek is being posted for no access. The public is asked to stay away from Hazeltine Creek at this time.
Water quality is a key issue affecting the health and well-being of the surrounding community. Ministry of Environment have been and continue to carry out water sampling in Quesnel Lake. We expect a good outcome from this sampling because the water discharged by the event already almost meets drinking water standards. Specifically, mercury has never been detected in our water and arsenic levels are about one-fifth of drinking water quality.. We regularly perform toxicity tests and we know this water is not toxic to rainbow trout. We do know suspended solids from the tailings will need to settle out before the water meets suspended solids criteria. Observations at the mouth of Hazeltine Creek on August 4th indicated solids were settling rapidly.
I would like to personally thank everyone who has been involved in the recovery efforts, especially the Cariboo Regional District and provincial agencies who responded very quickly.
I will continue to provide you with updates as soon as they are available.
Brian Kynoch, President