Mines minister addresses concerns about breached tailings pond

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Mines minister addresses concerns about breached tailings pond

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.




  1. What in this story backs up the headline that says Mines Minister addresses concerns? Other than equivocte when asked if he would drink the tailings pond effluent.

    This is another disaster which occurred because of deregulation under the Liberal government.as were the two sawmill explosions. And we are asking iImperial to come up with a clean up plan next week? Shouldn’t Imperial have had a cleanup response and plan before?

    Shouldn’t the government require all mines to have a spill response and procedure before an environmental spill occurs? Why are we trying to close the gate after the horse has bolted? This is Burns Lake all over again.

    One good thing is that this disaster has placed the kiss of death on Prosperity which should simply fold its tent and move on.

  2. Ah yes-the know nothing do nothing crowd is front and centre. There is, so far, no evidence to justify anyone being fired, or beheaded or whatever the anti business crowd wants done. Based on the comments above, just about every industry that is viable outside of Metro Vancouver should be shut down. Then, we can just rely on building condos for foreign buyers for economic development, and of course building bike lanes and getting government funding for studying this and that. This is a rush to judgement and the priority now is to deal with the aftermath-which even the village idiots should see is the priority. And, how many other times has this happened in the last, say, 15 years? Of course, it would not happen under the NDP as there would be no mining any more (and no jobs, etc)

  3. Before all the facts are in . . . . the “Antis” are out in force spouting nonsense . . .

    Still waiting for one of these folks to explain how were are going to give their kids jobs, education, healthcare and future pensions . . . if we don’t grow the economy . . .

    What’s YOUR plan ? Run for indian chief . . . .

    • Is Bennett your chief? Are you confident that our children are in good hands? Are you confident our environment is in capable hands? No environment = no homes = no work.

  4. This “nothing crowd is out front and centre” has a geologist in the family which gives credibility to my comments. As for water sampling, which may well pass due to dilution begs the question:

    If Dale and John can drink diluted tailing-pond water why is it necessary to build such facilities in the first place? Because the problem is in the solid tailings and slurry-not necessarily in the water which can be treated and released.

    So this member of the know nothing crowd is on the right side of the story. To offer to drink diluted tailing pond water is one of the oldest tricks in the world to divert attention from the real problem.

    Easy to attack others personally by implying they know nothing. ……

      • The teachers in the BCTF about 15% do not like the union, but will not quit the money and pension it better than private. IMO, Its a little hypocritical of you and them to say they hate the BCTF, alone they would be making minimum wages. Right up your alley!

  5. Understaffing, deregulation to blame for Mount Polley tailings pond disaster: critics.

    “The government isn’t inspecting the mines, and the mining companies know it,” said Glenda Ferris, a longtime advocate for environmentally safe mining in British Columbia who has previously consulted with government and First Nations on mining issues.

    Ferris said the BC government has relied excessively on the mining industry to self-regulate itself as ministries underwent budget cuts in the 1990s, meaning that the problem could be systemic.

      • You must get paid a lots of money to say after 14+ years of the Liberals we are still cleaning up after the NDP, the NDP did far better than the Liberal did in their first 10 yrs. Deflect and defend from a high salary Liberal!

        • Seriously? They ran BC into the ground and were finally reduced to TWO seats because of their incompetent mismanagement. That’s even worse than the imaginary re-call you love to daydream about eh? But it’s ok, you go ahead and enjoy your own rosy version.

  6. Everybody. Don’t worry. According to The Vancouver Sun snookums is going there this afternoon.
    She hasn’t gone yet because she “DIDN”T WANT TO BE A DISTRACTION”.
    Wow. Just how big is that air bag in her head? I know I am only 67 but I have never considered a beer slinger, former or currant, to be a distraction. The only thing you have to do with them is count your change before you leave.

  7. “You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.” This is former White House chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel, now the mayor of Murder City, USA (aka Chicago). The anti business left, the NDP, the greens and “First Nation” leaders will not want this incident to go by without pushing their agenda, which is to shut down all mining and resource exploration and development. These are the same people leading the waha, boohoo brigade calling for more money to be spent on just about everything without being too specific about who is to pay for all of it, or where people are to work.

    If there was the absence of regulation as is being suggested, why has this not been happening on a regular basis? No one knows for sure what happened here. There are “experts” on both sides of this, and the media is choosing to rely on the alarmists, because alarmism sells. If it bleeds it leads.

    So, the sensible thing to do is to concentrate on mitigating the damage and cleaning up. Which is what is happening. This is a disaster for everyone concerned-the company will scarcely come out ahead here either.

    At the same time a full inquiry into what happened and why is needed. And this is what is being promised. Everything else is propaganda along the lines of Mr. Emmanuel’s comments.

  8. Have you seen the extent of this damage? Look at the areal views from CBC Vancouver on Facebook and your mouth and heart (If you have one will drop) What has obviously happened is that concern or Obsession with ‘Profit and Savings’ ( by the gold company, the federal government and the province) contributed to this disaster. How the Province? by scaling back inspectors of the damn as they have all provincial positions responsible for monitoring public and environmental safety as well as environmental and infrastructure monitoring on many levels. This beautiful area where I had the pleasure to visit last year to look at property in Likely, BC is ruined-the solids can (possibly be removed from some water but so much sinks to the ground in streams to destroy everything. I am tired of “denial for profit’ or rationalizations “it still good”-that is a form of mental illness to deny the impact of industry in these forests. No amount of profit, government balanced budgets, jobs or gold can ever replace BC’s lakes rivers and forests. This area is irreplaceable!