An Environmental lawyer from the University of Victoria says the Mount Polley mine was previously told to fix the tailings pond.
Calvin Sandborn says the company didn’t act because they claimed it wasn’t a requirement.
“For the last decade they’ve been busy dismantling environmental laws, weakening the environmental assessment act and weakening enforcement. The Auditor General couple of years ago pointed out that government was not checking on whether or not any of the conditions in those permits were being enforced.”
Added Sandborn: “They knew in 2011 that a consultant had said, look, you gotta get that water out of the tailings pond – there’s too much water there, and some of those recommendations weren’t followed, in his words, because they weren’t required by law. The law needs to require that those kinds of tailings ponds are dealt with.”
Sandborn says a number of warnings also came from employees, in particular, the foreman of the mine, who had voiced their concerns to the company.
He noted the Ministry of Environment made cuts to their Mine Reclamation staff by fifty percent.
He’s also concerned taxpayers may bear some costs if the mine goes bankrupt.