BC’s energy and mines minister says the Mount Polley mine could receive a permit to re-open by the end of the month.
Bill Bennett says it appears the mine’s owners, Imperial Metals, have done everything asked of them to get 370 people back to work.
The gold and copper mine near Williams Lake has been closed since last summer’s catastrophic dam failure that gushed water and tailings into nearby waterways.
Bennett says Imperial Metals has spent nearly $70 million cleaning up the damage caused when the dam burst, but more needs to be done.
Ann Louie is the Chief of the Williams Lake Indian Band, and she agrees that cleaning up the damage will still take years.
She also says they’re working with the province and industry to prevent future disasters like Mount Polley from happening again.
But she remains hopeful that the work they’re currently doing will have a positive impact to have more safety legislation.
Louie says, from her understanding, the permit will be for a partial re-opening that will use an old pit for tailings instead of a pond.
The mayor of Williams Lake, Walt Cobb, says he’s hopeful the mine will open soon, as its closure has made a big dent in its economy.
He says he’s was hoping the re-opening would have been sooner, but end of the month is better than later.