Two First Nations are sounding the alarm over the possibility of another possible disaster at Mount Polley.
The Imperial Metals-owned copper and gold mine in BC’s Interior made headlines in mid-2014 when a tailings-pond dam breached without warning, spilling millions of litres of contaminated waste water into a nearby river.
Now, the Soda Creek and Williams Lake Indian Bands are speaking out over the threat posed by rising waters in the temporary containment pit that was built to replace the original tailings pond.
Chiefs from the First Nations say the re-opening of the mine this past June was reckless and they demand the government stop ignoring their concerns.
Williams Lake Mayor, Walt Cobb, wants the mine to get a discharge permit from the province.
He says the water level in the current containment pit is only six metres from the level where the mine will be forced to shut down.
Cobb says a shutdown would have a devastating economic impact on 1,000 direct and indirect jobs, right before the holiday season.
He says the water in the containment pit is mostly clean because the mine was re-opened only recently, and there’s a filtration plant ready to go.
He also noted that the current containment pond is a pit, rather than a dam, so there’s no risk of a dam breach, just water overflowing the top.