$20,000 in fines for Similkameen coal mine waste spill | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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$20,000 in fines for Similkameen coal mine waste spill

On Aug. 24, 2013, residents on the Tulameen River noticed the water running black following a spill of coal mine waste. Fines of $10,000 were issued following guilty pleas by the mine manager and mine manager designate on Sept.14, 2017.
Image Credit: SUBMITTED/B.C. Conservation Officer Service
September 22, 2017 - 11:31 AM

Fines have been handed out four years after a coal mine in the Similkameen spilled mine waste that made its way into a local river.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service says $20,000 in fines have been levelled following an investigation into reports the Tulameen River ran black on Aug. 24, 2013 near the community of Coalmont, about 30 kilometres north of Princeton.

The investigation determined Coalmont Energy Corporation, operators of the Basin Coal Mine at the time, had discharged approximately 60 cubic metres of mine waste material into a stream that emptied into the Tulameen River, according to a Conservation Service media release issued today, Sept. 22.

The spill was the result of a breach in the mine waste containment area.

The Conservation Service says charges were levelled against the mine manager and mine manager designate in September 2015. The three counts included introducing business related waste in the environment, introducing waste into the environment causing pollution and depositing a deleterious substance into waters frequented by fish.

The parties appeared in court for a pretrial conference on Dec. 12, 2016, where Rockland Kerry Leong and mine manager Allan McGowan were represented by their counsel via telephone. Penticton judge Gregory Koturbash heard the Coalmont Energy Corporation had since declared bankruptcy and would not likely be participating in the upcoming trial.

On Sept. 14 of this year, the mine manager entered a guilty plea to introducing waste into the environment causing pollution and received a $10,000 fine.

The mine manager designate also received a fine of $10,000 after pleading guilty to introducing business related waste into the environment.

The Habitat Conservation Trust Fund received $9,900 of each of the fines for fish habitat work in the Okanagan region.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad or call 250-488-3065 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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