Residents living near the Mount Polley tailings bond breach say BC’s Minister of Energy and Mines should resign if an “independent” review finds a lack of provincial oversight is at all to blame for the disaster.
Peggy Zorn runs an Eco Tours company in Likely and says Minister Bill Bennett must take responsibility.
“It’s their job to make sure people are kept safe but especially the Minister of Mines, obviously he didn’t do his job to keep people safe if that is how it all plays out.”
Owner of Northern Lights Lodge Skeed Borkowski says residents near the Mount Polley mine are questioning if a three-person panel mandated to investigate the tailings breach disaster is truly independent.
“A concern I think we all have is how independent will it really be. I mean it should be absolutely hands off from government, arms length, they should not be involved in any way what so ever.”
He adds “someone in the Ministry is responsible for the inspections for the follow up and it should always go to the top.”
An independent investigation will examine what caused the collapse of a huge tailings pond at an Imperial Metals copper and gold mine near the Cariboo community of Likely.
Mines Minister Bill Bennett announced the probe today, saying the engineering investigation and inquiry has until January 31st to submit final recommendations about the incident that sent millions of litres of mine tailings gushing into creeks, rivers and lakes surrounding the mine
Recommendations from the report will be shared with the Soda Creek and Williams Lake Indian bands and implemented by the province, as needed, to ensure a similar collapse does not occur again.
Bennett says the chief inspector of mines has also ordered all mining operations across BC to conduct a safety inspection of their tailings storage facilities and report the findings by December 1st