The B.C. Green Party welcomes the B.C. Government’s announcement of a three-person panel charged with undertaking an independent investigation of the Mount Polley mine tailings pond dam failure that occurred two weeks ago today. The panel will investigate all aspects of the dam’s failure and will report back to government with recommendations by January 31, 2015. The investigation will be paid for by Imperial Metals.
In addition the B.C. Greens welcome “independent third party dam safety inspections of every tailings pond facility at a permitted mine in the province”. The mine operators have been mandated by the Chief Inspector of Mines to complete the inspections by December 1, 2014. The inspections must also be reviewed by an independent third party engineering company.
The B.C. Greens are encouraged by the governments decision to review “consequence classifications” of each tailings pond facility. The classifications are based on the potential impact of a future dam breach to human health and the environment. Facilities with a high rating - or determined to pose a higher than average threat - will be required to have their emergency response plans reviewed.
The B.C. Green Party called for an independent investigation of the Mt. Polley disaster and a review of the conditions and inspections of all other mine tailings pond facilities in the province. This past weekend our petition asking for these measures amassed over 2000 signatures.
“It appears the government has created a credible process, and I am pleased with the involvement of First Nations. There was an amazing response to our petition calling for an independent review and investigation clearly showing the public is concerned about this disaster and are paying attention,” said Adam Olsen, Interim Leader of the B.C. Green Party
“Public confidence in the government’s regulatory and inspection program has been seriously eroded. The announcement this morning is a welcome vital step in ensuring our mining industry is safe, and has the required oversight” said Andrew Weaver, MLA for Oak Bay Gordon and Deputy Leader of the B.C, Green Party “Confidence will only be restored if the process is transparent and the government acts on the panel’s recommendations.”
Media Contact for Adam Olsen
Media Contact for Andrew Weaver