Over the last year, significant progress has been made on environmental mitigation and remediation at the Mount Polley mine site which is outlined in the end of phase one progress report released today by Environment Minister Mary Polak.
Phase one of the longer-term remediation efforts focussed on stabilizing Hazeltine Creek so it would be safe over the winter months and through the higher water flows from spring freshet. The Province has overseen all environmental remediation and monitoring work done by the Mount Polley Mining Corporation and will continue to do so.
All deliverables for phase one were completed by the end of June, which included successfully implementing measures to ensure the increased water flow did not result in additional environmental or human health impacts. Another key outcome successfully completed in this phase was ensuring water quality entering Quesnel Lake met provincial water quality guidelines.
The Province has created a video showing the extent of the remediation work completed over the past year which can be found at: http://youtu.be/JMIORbuebYk
To-date, the ministry considers the following activities complete or suitably initiated:
- Safety (e.g., woody debris removed from Quesnel Lake)
- Containment of tailings
- Protection of archaeological resources
- Protection of fish
- Erosion mitigation
- Water treatment
Phase two will continue to focus on remediating the impacts of the breach through summer 2016 and beyond and will include an ecological and human health risk assessment. Ongoing impact assessment, monitoring and mitigation activities will also occur. First Nations and local communities will be active participants throughout this phase.
The end of phase one progress report is available at: http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/eemp/incidents/2014/mount-polley/pdf/20150729/2015ENVphase-one-progress-report.pdf
Mary Polak, Minister of Environment –
“The remediation and clean-up work done over the past year is truly impressive and I thank all involved. We recognize full environmental remediation will take years and we will continue to work closely with First Nations, the local communities and the mine to ensure a comprehensive long-term plan for monitoring, remediation and restoration is implemented.”
B.C. Newsroom – Ministry of Environment: http://www.newsroom.gov.bc.ca/ministries/environment-1