Mount Polley Gets Permit for Restricted Restart
The new permits allow processing of a maximum of 4 million metric tons (mt) of ore over one year—approximately 50% of capacity of the Mount Polley processing plant. During modified operations, plant tailings will be stored in the property’s mined-out Springer pit. Ore will be mined from the Cariboo pit and the Boundary zone underground workings.
“The rehabilitation and restoration of the areas affected by the August 4, 2014, breach of the tailings embankment at the Mount Polley mine will continue during the period of modified operation,” an Imperial statement said. “Imperial remains committed to working with the Ministry of Environment, First Nations and the local community to mitigate the effects of the breach.
“The permit amendments to recommence operations at Mount Polley allow the mine to retain a large portion of its skilled workforce, which is critical to ongoing operations.”
British Columbia’s Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett said, “This conditional restricted permit to restart operations is the first of three significant steps the company needs to take to continue operation and does not include the ability to discharge water off the site. In the early fall, the company will need a second conditional permit to treat and discharge water in order for operations to continue. Lastly, the company must submit a long-term water treatment and discharge plan to the government by June 30, 2016. The mine will not be authorized to continue to operate long term if it fails to complete either of the last two steps.”
Ministry of Energy and Mines inspectors will be on site at Mount Polley during the initial startup period and will conduct regular site inspections once the mine is operating. Additionally, permit conditions require Imperial to provide weekly reports to the government, First Nations, the Cariboo Regional District, and the community of Likely detailing water management and water quality results. If necessary, ministry inspectors have full authority to issue stop work orders for any area of the mine found to be in noncompliance.