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Highland Valley Copper mine will not renew dam building contract

December 09, 2015 - 1:00 PM

LOGAN LAKE - Highland Valley Copper Mine will not renew a contract with the company that has been building up the dam around the tailings pond every year for the past 15 years.

Cantex Mining Services Inc. will not continue to build the dam around the mine’s tailing pond in 2016, the company announced last week. The pond continues to fill as mining operations continue and dam walls, or free board, need to be constantly built up as the pond constantly becomes fuller.

Cantex has successfully bid for a three- to five-year construction contracts for the past 15 years, mine superintendent of environment and community affairs Peter Martell says. When the current contract expires Dec. 31, the mining company will not renew it.

“We did a comprehensive construction and safety analysis. We determined that no construction on the dam was required in 2016,” Martell says, adding the dam undergoes extensive inspections and instruments are monitored on a regular basis.

He says the construction schedule is 'adequate’ and the current dam walls are high enough to manage any additions to the pond in the coming year.

Cantex performs various jobs around the mine, including ‘work not usually performed by the unionized workforce,’ Martell says.

The majority of the work revolves around dam building though and while the workforce varies throughout the year, the decision to not renew the dam contract could affect as many as 100 Cantex employees during the summer months.

Steelworkers Union 7619 president Kyle Wolff says he has 'zero' concerns about Cantex’s contract not being renewed.

“People might say, ‘who's monitoring the dam?’ There are still people out there every day,” Wolff says, adding the mine has an independent third party dam inspector.

Martell says the mine will be putting out construction bids again in the third quarter of 2016.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Dana Reynolds at or call 250-819-6089. To contact an editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015
InfoTel News Ltd

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