Engineering probe finds flawed design caused Canada tailing dam collapse

Fri Jan 30, 2015 1:18pm EST
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VANCOUVER Jan 30 (Reuters) - A massive spill from a dam containing mine waste in British Columbia last August was caused by a flawed design for the embankment, which did not properly account for the geology of the region, an independent panel said on Friday.

The investigation by the three-member engineering panel found that the breach, which sent billions of gallons of wastewater and sludge coursing into a fish-bearing creek, was a result of a failure in the foundation of the tailing dam embankment.

"We concluded the dominant contribution to the failure resides in the design," panel chair Norbert Morgenstern said at a press conference. "The design did not take into account the complexity of the sub glacial and pre-glacial geological environment associated with the perimeter embankment foundation."

The mine is owned by Vancouver-based Imperial Metals Inc . (Reporting by Julie Gordon in Vancouver and Susan Taylor in Toronto, editing by G Crosse)