British Columbia warns Imperial Metals a month after tailing spill

Tue Sep 9, 2014 7:59pm EDT
 
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VANCOUVER, Sept 9 (Reuters) - The Canadian province of British Columbia on Tuesday issued a formal warning against the owners of the Mount Polley mine after an inspection found that mine waste was still leaking from its breached tailing dam facility a month after it burst.

The province's Ministry of Environment said an inspection at the site on Sept. 4 had found the mine, owned by Imperial Metals Corp, to be "out of compliance" with provincial laws, as effluent, or liquid waste, was still leaking into local waterways.

The warning, sent to Mount Polley general manager Dale Reimer and released by the province, was issued more than a month after the original spill, which sent billions of gallons of tailings into waterways in central British Columbia and prompted numerous water-use bans.

The letter stated that while the Ministry of Environment understands that there are challenges around working at the spill site, it believes "more action" could be taken to ensure greater environmental protection in a "more timely manner."

The discharges have since stopped, the government said in its advisory, and added that Ministry staff remained concerned that heavy rainfall could trigger further seepage.

The province has ordered the Vancouver-based company to install a sediment control system to ensure that there is no further seepage.

Shares of Imperial Metals ended up 6.8 percent at C$9.85 on Tuesday on the Toronto Stock Exchange, though the stock is still well below its closing price of C$16.80 on Aug. 1, the last day of trading before the spill on Aug. 4. (Reporting by Julie Gordon)