No B.C. charges in Mount Polley dam collapse as federal investigations continue

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., on August, 5, 2014. There will be no provincial charges into a tailings dam collapse in British Columbia but the province's new environment minister says a mining company may still be held responsible through federal laws.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

VANCOUVER - There will be no provincial charges into a tailings dam collapse in British Columbia but the province's new environment minister says a mining company may still be held responsible through federal laws.

George Heyman says the August 2014 disaster has had tremendous economic and environmental consequences and British Columbians deserve to know what went wrong at the Mount Polley mine near Williams Lake.

A three-year deadline on charges will pass Friday in the midst of an ongoing investigation by B.C.'s Conservation Officer Service, and the head of the agency says he doesn't know when the probe will be completed.

Chris Doyle says the service will hand over its investigation report to the federal departments of Environment and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, which are doing their own probes into the spill.

The Mount Polley dam breached at the gold and copper mine, sending 24 million cubic meters of mine waste and sludge into nearby waterways.

Two reports found the collapse at the mine operated by Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX:III) was caused by a poorly designed dam that didn't account for drainage and erosion failures.


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