BC’s Energy minister is not volunteering to drink the water in the breached tailings pond at the Imperial Metals mine in the Cariboo.
On Tuesday Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch was asked “Would you drink the water?” he answered “Yes I would drink the water but it is of no consequence whether I…I would drink the water once the solids come out.”
Today Energy minister Bill Bennett was asked if he would drink the water in the tailings pond.
“The mining CEO here is a very experienced knowledable engineer. Engineers in my experience are pretty definite about what they know and Brian is pretty definite that he knows this operation well enough that if the sediments are settled apparently he would drink the water. I would probably watch him.”
The company behind a proposed mine in Kamloops has taken to Facebook to criticize the construction of the breached dam in the Cariboo.
In a posting on its page addressing Imperial Metals tailings pond breach Ajax mines said “Properly designed and monitored tailings dams do not fail.”
Mines minister Bill Bennett agrees saying to see tailings pond dam breach is very rare.
“You know the statement by the other company I think is accepted in the industry as being the case. That leads one to assume that eventually our inspectors are going to find something that wasn’t right about this dam. I don’t know that for a fact but that is what we are looking at.”
As First Nations downstream from the breached Imperial Metals tailings pond worry about the effects on returning salmon BC’s Energy minister says he too is concerned.
Bill Bennett says the breach and its potential impacts are so concerning he is losing sleep.
Bennett says the hope is test results will show returning sockeye aren’t in any danger.
“There is no more important symbol in this province than salmon, particularily important to First Nations. I am hopeful that the company is correct in terms of what they say there records show was in the tailings. That will lead us to positive results from the water sampling but I don’t know that.”
1.5 million sockeye are headed for the waters tainted by the tailings pond breach.
Bennett says preliminary water testing results should be released at an update Thursday at 3pm.