There go those fish and everything thats coming upstream is dead!

Discussion in 'Conservation, Fishery Politics and Management.' started by KV1, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. eroyd

    eroyd Active Member

    There are far too many people that consume far more (rewards) than they need to and those people indeed are hypocrites when they criticize industry. However a good quality of living doesn't have to mean raping the planet. Our present society is full of pigs and in the end it will cost us all.
  2. triplenickel

    triplenickel Well-Known Member

    I think a big problem is our present planet is full of far too many people.
  3. Birdsnest

    Birdsnest Well-Known Member

    Religion, cultures and economies all promoting growth. Not good.
  4. KV1

    KV1 Active Member

    I for one am not saying mining is bad we need it. Its not like we build anything here anymore except maybe Scotty products and even some of there stuff is made is Germany(belts). I am against the government corruption that is so rotten to the core its the norm now in my opinion. We need gold for many things not just jewelery but it can be done without things like this happening. I hate it when government and industry can hide behind the "safety" umbrella when its good for them but fail to use it when its good for us!
  5. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Thanks for keeping it honest and real 3x5.

    For the record - in the earlier phases of my life - I was just as redneck conservative as any poster on this forum. After Mulrooney and the Shamrock Summit, the Free Trade Act, and the Schriber affair - I saw the conservatives not just as bullies - but just as corrupt as everyone else. After PE trudeau, and the sponsorship scandal - I saw the liberals just as slimy as everyone else. The NDP have f-u provincially - but most liked Ed Broadbent and Jack Layton - federally. I am not afraid of the so-called "red hoard" - but they are just as incompetent as any group of politicians - and just as compromised by the party system as any party. Then came Harper - who made Mulrooney look like a lightweight.

    In short - not only is the party system a diversion away from addressing the issues we really need to address - it is anti-democratic. Nunavut does not have such a sytem - and it also a British Parlimentary system. No where in our Constitution does it give the Prime Minister, the PMO, and the Privy Council any of the powers they currently employ to control the system. Their institution is therefore illegal and redundant. The crooks have taken power - and since it seems normal - we all look the other way. I don't. If that has a "not so subtle political undertone" - then good!

    I truly respect the sacrifices made my many of our ancestral young men and women in WWI and WWII to allow us the opportunity to made democracy work. They gave up their chance for life - so we would have ours. I haven't forgotten that - and in respect of that - I try my best to make the system work better in any way I can. If that includes informing/debating on a sportsfishing forum - then I will spend the time. If that includes submitting freedom of information requests, submitting environmental petitions, voting, helping with elections, writing directly to politicians and government officials, working with First Nations - or any other means - I will do that as well. These so-called "political undertones" are not just necessary - but our duty as an engaged citizenry in a democracy.

    We need to be responsible to our future generations. We only have this one spaceship to use. If any crewmember on a NASA flight was seen cutting out wires to sell them to the local junk dealer for a song and a dance - that person would be out in the next garbage shoot.

    In our current stock-market dominated dogma sold by our compromised politicians and industry pundits - it is all fear-based propaganda about "jobs, jobs, jobs", "free" trade, and those evil red hoards. It is also all BS.

    Yes - of course we need jobs. yes, of course we need economic development. Not all projects are worth pursuing, though. Many venture-capital projects are designed to keep CEOs rich and happy while not realty being serious about making it work. They will milk it as long as the stock market allows. It is but a game - and not anything about good goverence - although it is often sold to us as such.

    We need open and honest dialogue - especially about pros and cons and trade-offs (costs/benefit analysis). We need accurate info to base good decisions. If you are not getting that - if you are getting stalled and lied to - there is a reason.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2014
  6. Cuba Libre

    Cuba Libre Well-Known Member

    Thank you Agentaqua
  7. GLG

    GLG Well-Known Member

    Well said Agentaqua and I think your view is what most of us on here think as well.
  8. triplenickel

    triplenickel Well-Known Member

    Well said X 3!
  9. Gunsmith

    Gunsmith Well-Known Member

    For sure that is what I like to follow also. Thank you for your honesty.
  10. Clipper

    Clipper Active Member

    X a whole bunch! Very well said and unfortunately, very true. The problem is: where do we go from here? How can we fix such a broken system?
  11. KV1

    KV1 Active Member

    The first thing you do is don't vote as whoever you vote for does not matter they are all in it together its a sham. The second thing you do is engage in any government activities as little as possible. Be invisible. Forums are obviously not a good place for this but you see it more and more with young people. The freeman of the land seem like a bunch of nut jobs but they actually have a point. The problem is we all love what capitalism brings in prosperity but hate what it doesn't work in our favor.
  12. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Thanks for the support and agreement in the last few postings by everyone. It is encouraging to see we are really on the same page here - and that we all really do care.

    KV1 - I tried giving-up on the system for some years - and it was ok for me, but did nothing to change things for the better for anyone. I got drawn back into the politics - whether I liked it or not. I think if we all appraise our skill set, time commitments and interest - we can all find a niche where we can be more effective. Whether that means just getting the potholes in your street fixed - or getting corrupt politicians fired - we can all do our small part. It all starts with getting informed - which is why Hitler burned books, and the Harper regime closed libraries and threw the reports in the garbage bins. They know the risk to their corruption when the electorate gets informed and involved. Knowledge is power.

    Both Hitler and Harper have been successful in chipping away at our freedoms and our abilities to engage. I agree that our system is very broken KV1 - but it unfortunately is the only one we currently have - and zoning-out only helps perpetuate the dysfunction and corruption. It works for the politicians and the lobbyists if we give-up.

    I don't think it matters who you vote for by-and-large - no - but it does matter whether we get a majority government run by sociopaths who get enough time to run the deals they want to. If the Conservatives did not get a majority in the last election - those weasels and bullies would have not been able to push through those 2 omnibus bills where they gutted the Fisheries Act and environmental assessments. I think it is long past due to clip their wings but having them decimated in the past election - like what happened after Mulrooney's debacle - where the only 2 remaining conservatives re-elected were Elsie Wayne and Jean Charet.

    Don't get me wrong - I don't think that Justin Trudeau and the Liberals are the answer, either. But we will spend the next 60 years or better fixing what this past majority Conservative government has f*cked-up. Our fisheries management and science - as well as our response to the climate change issue - is an embarrassment to the rest of the world. We live in dark times in Canada. I never thought it would ever get this bad. The only possible mitigation to that institutionalized arrogance and corruption is legal challenges and co-management by First Nations.

    Yes - all governments have their challenges and limitations - including First Nations.

    Yes - there is much fear around the processes that are giving power back to First Nations, including fear of being shut out of those processes.

    BUT - at this point - whether we like it or not - the courts have been ruling rather consistently in favour of the First Nations. These issues over Rights and Titles, Fiduciary duty and the duty to meaningfully consult - are not going away. I also see no other realistic alternative to the lack of meaningful public input into management processes by the federal and provincial governments.

    This is already becoming apparent as the feds try to push through Enbridge - which is what is interesting about the timing of this new First Nations Accountability Act. It is right at the time the feds are trying to push through Enbridge. I think it is apparent why the feds did not instead approve a "Government" Accountability Act - where the MPs and the Cabinet Ministers also have to be accountable for not only what they get paid and what they spend - but what is in both their and their wives stock portfolios. Leaders are supposed to lead by example. Crooks hide.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2014
  13. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Mine Disaster: Gov't Shirked Legal Duty to Warn Public, Says Advocate
    Ministry knew Mount Polley dam posed threat, was legally bound to share info: transparency group.
    By Bob Mackin, Yesterday,

    Polak and Clark
    Mary Polak on the day she was sworn in as environment minister, with Premier Christy Clark. Transparency advocates FIPA claims Polak’s ministry was required by law to inform public it knew of environmental and public health threat at Mount Polley mine.

    An advocate for government openness says the B.C. government failed to perform its statutory duty to warn citizens about the state of the Mount Polley mining waste dam before the Aug. 4 disaster.

    The B.C. Freedom of Information and Privacy Association formally complained Aug. 8 to Information and Privacy Commissioner Elizabeth Denham based on the section of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act that requires public bodies proactively disclose information regarding a risk of harm to the environment or public health.

    "Regrettably, there is considerable similarity between the collapse of the Mount Polley tailings pond and the collapse of the Testalinden Dam, where you found the B.C. government had failed to carry out its duty to release information to the public about the danger," wrote Vincent Gogolek in his Aug. 11-released letter to Denham. "Given the circumstances in this case, we believe it is important to determine not just whether the B.C. government breached its duty to release information related to this situation, but also to determine whether the B.C. government has done anything to implement the recommendations in your Investigation Report of last December."

    Public needs info to pressure gov't: ruling

    Section 25, as it is formally known, trumps every other section of the Act, but it is open to “broad and inconsistent interpretation” by public bodies, Denham wrote in her Dec. 2, 2013 report.

    Denham found the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations failed to meet its section 25 obligations since the law came into force in 1993. The Ministry withheld from the public the inspection reports that showed the 80-year-old Testalinden Dam near Oliver was near the end of its life and was a hazard to people and property downstream.

    "The information about the risk of failure of the dam was information that the public did not know and that would have likely resulted in the local citizenry, at the very least, pressuring government to take remedial action," Denham wrote.

    Denham recommended the law be softened, so that information could be released without "there being temporal urgency."

    Enviro ministry warned mine operator, not public

    The Ministry of Environment claimed it warned Mount Polley, operated by Imperial Metals Corp., five times. The most recent warning was in May, when the amount of wastewater in storage exceeded allowable levels.

    B.C.'s Chief Inspector of Mines, Al Hoffman, was on the recipients list for a Feb. 10, 2011 letter to Imperial from consultant Knight Piesold. Knight Piesold's letter informed Imperial that it would not continue as engineer of record for the mine. It warned that embankments and the tailings pond were "getting large and it is extremely important that they be monitored, constructed and operated properly to prevent problems in the future."

    The next month, AMEC Earth and Environmental took over as Mount Polley's engineer of record.
  14. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Empire Editorial: Mount Polley breach a thunderous warning
    Posted: August 12, 2014 - 12:00am

    The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge has become a cause célèbre for environmentalists nationwide.

    Southeast Alaska is far less remote and barren — and yet, for some reason its protection is not yet a national issue.

    It needs to be, and now.

    Grand and gorgeous, this portion of The Last Frontier — home to key salmon and other habitats — is under threat of potential devastation today.

    As Rivers Without Borders puts it, “at the headwaters of a tributary of the Unuk River, just upstream from Misty Fiords National Monument in Alaska,” a proposed massive open-pit and underground mine known as KSM — Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell — threatens to despoil the frontier and endanger pristine habitats that we humans have come to not only awe, but also depend upon for life.

    If that precarious balance weren’t already enough in focus, the startling breach of the Mount Polley Mine in British Columbia on Aug. 4 should have jolted us all awake.

    Already being compared with the infamous Exxon Valdez oil spill, the Mount Polley breach unleashed some 10 million cubic meters of tailings water, and 4.5 million cubic meters of fine toxic tailings into lakes and rivers in the Fraser River watershed.

    Ominously, the Empire reported, the Fraser River, as of last week uncovered by water quality warnings, was nonetheless “expecting a run of up to 3 million sockeye salmon in about two weeks.”

    Central Council of the Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes said in a press release that the Mount Polley disaster is “a stark reminder why we need much more study, stronger guarantees from Canada and more engagement by the U.S. and Alaska before mines like KSM go ahead, to ensure our cultural and traditional resources are protected.”

    Absolutely. The council could not be more right.

    We agree wholeheartedly with one association’s call that Canada put an immediate halt to new mine permits in the transboundary river region until the Mount Polley incident is thoroughly studied and understood.

    That call should echo throughout this abundantly blessed nation. And it should lead to more cross-border cooperation on these vital, life-and-death matters.

    We certainly understand Canada’s desire to make use of its natural resources, but that shouldn’t and cannot be allowed to come at the cost of Alaska’s. Runoff could threaten not only salmon waterways and the fishing industry, but it could also threaten a way of life that, for some, reaches back thousands of years.

    The KSM mine, featuring one open pit that would rival the world’s deepest, is just one of a handful of impending mines in transborder watersheds that have growing numbers of people alarmed.

    Nor does it help that, while Canada stands to gain economically from the mining rush, Alaskans appear to assume the bulk of the considerable environmental risk.

    We urge Alaskans, all concerned Americans, and our leaders from Juneau to Washington to press our Canadian friends to rethink their headlong plunge into pits that could easily endanger pristine and life-giving waterways.

    Our land, our livelihoods and our God-given stewardship over the most beautiful ecosystems on Earth demand no less.
  15. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member
    Ministry slams Imperial Metals with several clean-up conditions

    The Ministry of Environment has ordered that Imperial Metals Ltd. must immediately stop the flow of wastewater from its breached Mount Polley dam, as well as meet several other clean-up obligations, in the wake of a disaster that saw toxic sediment spilled into local watersheds in the B.C. Interior.

    Ministry spokesperson Jennifer McGuire said in a teleconference that the company is required to submit a preliminary environmental impact assessment report of the spill, which occurred early Monday morning, by the end of today.

    The company must also submit a more comprehensive assessment report examining more long-term environmental impacts, such as fish habitat and water quality and sediments. The deadline for the first portion of the report is Aug. 15, and a summary report is due at the end of September.

    All of the reports will be posted on the ministry website after a review with Imperial Metals.

    Failure to comply with the terms could result in fines up to $300,000 and six months in jail for each violation, McGuire said.

    A regional drinking water ban has been in force since Monday following the catastrophic breach at the mining site near Likely, B.C., where an estimated 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of fine sand was released into Polley Lake.

    The Cariboo Regional District declared a local state of emergency on Wednesday morning.

    The first results from water samples are expected Thursday, said Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett. He also said that water testing will continue daily.

    What caused the dam to breach is still unknown. According to Bennett, the tailings sand "backed up into the mouth of Polley Lake and stayed there and essentially formed a little dam of itself, it's about a metre and a half thick."

    Imperial Metals is pumping water from Polley Lake into an empty pit on the mine site to reduce rising water levels caused by the dam in the lake, he said.

    Bennett maintained that the ministry won't know exactly what's in the water until the samples come back.

    "We will learn lessons from this and we will apply those lessons to other mines in this province," Bennett said. "There's no question that even though this is unexpected and unprecedented, it has happened once and we just have to make sure it doesn't happen again."

    B.C. Environment Minister Mary Polak has not yet commented on the breach. When The Tyee contacted Polak's office on Wednesday morning, her communications department said they did not know when or if the minister would comment.

    According to today's teleconference, Polak is expected to arrive in Likely tomorrow.

    Emily Fister is completing a practicum at The Tyee.

    - See more at:
  16. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Company's Claims of Clean Tailings 'Misleading': Ex-Employee
    Imperial Metals describes substance spilled from dam as 'very close to drinking water.'
    By David P. Ball, 6 Aug 2014,

    A mining worker is accusing his former employer of "misleading" the public on toxins contained in its Mount Polley copper and gold mine tailings, and says Imperial Metals Ltd. is attempting to "sugarcoat" its dam accident that saw 10 million cubic metres of water pour into Hazeltine Creek in the Cariboo region of British Columbia.

    The Cariboo Regional District declared a local state of emergency on Wednesday morning, two days after all water use was banned for residents the area. The tailings dam operated by Imperial Metals broke open around 3 a.m. on Monday morning, and the resulting spill also saw 4.5 million cubic metres of solid material dumped into the watershed.

    In a tense and confrontational public meeting in the town of around 300 residents Tuesday afternoon, the company's president apologized for the spill, but denied the released slurry contained toxins such as mercury, arsenic, lead and cadmium.

    "It's very close to drinking water quality, the water that sits in our tailings pond," Brian Kynoch said at the meeting. "The water in the tailings facility are not toxic."

    Residents attending the meeting interrupted him several times, with one unidentified man demanding to know if Kynoch would drink the tailings water.

    "Yes, I would drink the water, but it's of no consequence," the company head replied. "I would drink the water once the solids come out."

    Others, including local mine workers, were unconvinced, and suggested Kynoch was dodging questions about the heavy metal contents of the solids which turned the water into what the Cariboo Regional District head described as a "slurry."

    'We don't know what's in the stuff': former Mount Polley worker

    William Macburney worked at the Mount Polley mine as an equipment operator from roughly 1995 until the project closed temporarily in 2000, and hasn't returned since it reopened. Now the 43-year-old works at another mine in Tumbler Ridge, but said he has friends who work at Mount Polley.

    "This is catastrophic. We don't know what's in the stuff," he said of the tailings spill. "[The company is] misleading people… They're trying to sugarcoat it, telling everyone there are no harmful chemicals in the rock they mine. But they're ignoring the fact that there are a lot of contaminants they put in."

    In the five years Macburney worked at Mount Polley mine, he said he never saw any safety problems. "We didn't have too many issues with the dam that broke, because it was new."

    The cause of the dam breach has not yet been determined, but a number of experts have speculated that increasingly high water levels behind the earthen barrier could have played a role.

    An independent report conducted by scientists in 2009 issued several warnings about the safety of the tailings pond and dam. The B.C. Ministry of Environment also revealed to reporters that it had warned the mine operator of exceeding safe drinking water guidelines in the tailings impoundment, including high levels of selenium, sulphate, and molybdenum.

    2013 records show arsenic, mercury

    According to Environment Canada's National Pollutant Release Inventory (NPRI), last year Imperial Metals reported its Mount Polley tailings pond was storing nearly 84 tonnes of the poison arsenic, more than 38 tonnes of lead, 138 tonnes of cobalt, plus 562 kilograms of mercury, a neurotoxin that can cause degenerative disease.*

    Tailings chart
    Data showing the presence of several compounds that Imperial Metals Ltd. reported to Environment Canada in its Mount Polley mine's tailings pond. Chart by The Tyee.

    "I haven't been very impressed with Imperial Metals' response, especially the president's comment about being able to drink the water," said Ramsey Hart, Canada programs coordinator with MiningWatch Canada. "The data now shows the water in the impoundment wasn't at drinking water standards.

    "To imply that it could be would be misleading… Certainly most toxicity is associated with sediments. Those aren't going anywhere; they're now distributed through the watershed."

    Like many Likely residents, Macburney is an avid fisherman. He said he would often go to the affected lakes to catch fish, including freshwater char, gerrard rainbow trout, and bottom dwellers such as ling cod. He could drink the mountain water straight from the lake, he claimed.

    Now, no matter what Imperial Metals says about the water quality, he refuses to fish in Quesnel or Polley lakes.

    "I'm not taking the chance," he lamented. "If a fish is in those contaminants for five years, if someone takes that home from their dinner, it's not a very good thing."

    Story corrected Aug. 5 at 4 p.m.

    Attached Files:

  17. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    The Risky Rise of the Dams
    With mining growth comes larger, deeper, more unwieldy tailings ponds, experts warn.
    By Andrew Nikiforuk, 7 Aug 2014,

    A massive mining wastewater spill in the interior of British Columbia highlights a new global trend: tailing dams that hold waste are not only getting bigger, but posing greater risks to watersheds and communities downstream.

    Drawing upon recent industry reports and presentations made by engineers living in the province, it's clear that the complexities of the industry have multiplied and with them, risks to water are escalating.

    Increased global mining production of substances such as iron ore, gold, copper and nickel along with rising metal prices has tripled the value of the industry from $200 billion to $600 billion over the last decade.

    But due to declining ore quality, the sheer volume of waste produced by the industry, which can contain substances such as arsenic, lead and cyanide, is increasing.

    Every year, the industry digs and moves as much solid rock (several thousand million tonnes per year) as all earthen materials transported by natural geological processes, such as landslides and erosion.

    Because of the challenge of peak metals and high global demand, the mining industry faces a number of somber risks, as reported by Andrew M. Robertson of Robertson GeoConsultants at a recent mining conference.

    It must not only dig deeper for poorer quality ores, but create larger and taller dams of tailings waste.

    As a result, the dykes that contain the waste have been growing higher and larger every year. The average height of a tailings dam has grown from 120 metres in the 1960s to 240 metres today. They also contain more water than ever before, reported Robertson.

    In addition, the growing size of mines means that the industry is "increasingly dominating regional water supply and quality. Our structures to control water have become large and threatening," reads Robertson's presentation.

    Every 30 years, the volume of water and tailings produced by the industry increases tenfold, said Robertson. Meanwhile, the area of waste deposits increases fivefold and the height of dams grows twofold. "We are not dam building -- we are terraforming," he told a Tailings and Mine Waste conference in 2011.

    Booms add risk

    Across the world, the rate of dam failures containing mining waste now averages 1.7 a year. That's a much higher rate than conventional hydro dams.

    Norbert Morgenstern, a world authority on the structures, has reported that the reliability of tailing dams is "among the lowest of earth structures." In addition, he has said, "well-intentioned corporations employing apparently well-qualified consultants is not adequate insurance against serious accidents."

    In 2010, Morgenstern noted an interesting fact: tailing dams that received regular third party inspections rarely failed.

    According to studies by engineers Michael Davies and Todd Martin, there appears to be a strong correlation between mining booms and subsequent dam failures.

    During mining booms, governments hand out permits quickly; industry tries to save money and cut costs; engineers flit from project to project; and industry favours "cookie cutter" designs. The frequency of dam failures can be expected to increase shortly thereafter, they found.

    Mining activity can be transient, but its impacts are often permanent. Lead and zinc mining in northern England still pollutes a river catchment over an area of 12,000 square-kilometres.

    And abandoned mines in northern Canada still threaten waterways with tonnes of arsenic and cyanide.

    BC 'unmatched' in waste challenges

    Mine waste can come in solid or fluid form that can leach toxic metals or generate acids that destroy aquatic life.

    In its early days, the mining industry often dumped waste into the oceans, rivers and lakes. Tailing dams came into increasing use starting in the 1950s in British Columbia.

    Nevertheless, dumping waste hasn't stopped. According to a 2012 report by MiningWatch Canada, "mining companies dump 180 million tonnes of toxic mine waste, also called tailings, into oceans, rivers and lakes. That is the equivalent of 1.5 times the amount of municipal solid waste that the United States sent to landfills in 2009."

    But building dams to hold mining waste, according to Burnaby-based engineer Todd Martin, introduced its own set of problems.

    Mount Polley tailings dam spill
    Another aerial view of the Mount Polley tailings dam spill. Source: Cariboo Regional District.

    "Instead of natural basins as repositories for waste rock and in particular tailings, the industry must engineer, construct, monitor and maintain large embankment dams and impoundments, many of which must be maintained in flooded condition in perpetuity," he said at a recent conference.

    Stewardship of such facilities is no easy feat, particularly in British Columbia, where "water bodies are ubiquitous, rainfall and snowfall are substantial, and terrain readily amenable to the development of impoundments required to remain stable in perpetuity can be hard to come by," Martin said.

    B.C., one of the world's major mining centres, operates more than 50 mines in mountainous wet terrain and that reality, according to Martin, "poses a formidable challenge to the management of tailings or mining waste."

    Combined with other geohazards including earthquakes and climate change, Martin describes B.C. as a setting "unmatched in its mine waste challenges."

    Reducing failures

    The Alberta oilsands represent one of the world's largest collections of mining waste at 830 million cubic metres. Each barrel of bitumen produces about 1.5 barrels of salty and acidic fluid waste.

    As a consequence, tailing ponds cover 180 square-kilometres of forest land. The Pembina Institute calculates that the industry will create "enough toxic waste to submerge New York's Central Park to a depth of just over 11 feet every month" by 2022.

    Last year, an Alberta dam holding coal mining waste broke and poured 600 million litres of waste into the Athabasca River.

    Building larger flooded impoundments to hold more and more mining waste is currently the global status quo in the industry. As a consequence, the frequency of serious incidents has not declined since 1968.

    Engineer Martin suspects that the only way industry and society can reduce the probability of a failure is to hope for a better technology, find different ways to bury acid mine waste than under water, and continuously improve all aspects of dam safety stewardship.

    Other engineers think small mines built only in places conducive to secure dams might be the answer, as well as technologies that produce dry tailings. Conservation of minerals and global population control might also be good ideas.

    As B.C. ramps up mining activity, the number of dams holding back mining waste will increase substantially. In the process, warns engineer Martin, the province will find itself as much in the dam safety business as BC Hydro.

    Jack Caldwell, an outspoken mining engineer, recently noted that bad engineering plays a role in dam failures, too.

    "Why do failures occur? The answer is that we refuse to do it properly. What are the impacts of tailings disposal? The answer is that we are hobbled by too short a time perspective. Where are the respected consultants of old? The answer is that they have sold out to the stock market and retired to drive their SUVs."
  18. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    TAILINGS POND DAM - Warnings were issued to mining company
    Testing continues to determine affect of spill on water quality critical for human consumption and aquatic life
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    Posted 08/10/2014
    by - Margaret Bauman

    The international consulting group that designed the ill-fated British Columbia tailings pond dam for Mount Polley Mine says they had cautioned the mine company and British Columbia officials that its use was greater than it was designed for.
    "As the former engineer of record of the tailings storage facility at Mount Polley, we feel it appropriate to provide some clarity and transparency of the role of Knight Piesold Ltd," the company said in a statement released Aug. 8.
    The company said it is not familiar with details of what it described as "an extremely unfortunate incident" or on the design, construction, operations, water management practices or any other aspect of the tailings storage facility.
    Knight Piesold informed Imperials Metals on Feb. 10, 2011 that they would not continue as the engineer of record for the gold and copper mine in central British Columbia, and subsequently ceased to perform that role.
    Upon completing all assignments as the engineer of record in 2010, Knight Piesold had written to the mine corporation and the government of British Columbia's chief inspector of mines of their concerns.
    "The embankments and the overall tailings impoundment are getting large and it is extremely important that they be monitored, constructed and operated properly to prevent problems in the future," the letter said.
    Knight Piesold's statement of Aug. 8 noted that the original engineering accommodated a significantly lower water volume than the tailings storage facility for the copper and gold mine reportedly held at the time of the breach.
    "Significant engineering and design changes were made subsequent to our involvement, such that the tailings storage facility can no longer be considered a Knight Piesold design," the statement said.
    A formal handover of design, construction and monitoring responsibilities was conducted on March 8, 2011, when AMEC Earth and Environmental was acknowledged as the new engineer of record for all future work at the tailings storage facility.
    British Columbia's environmental minister, Mary Polak said during a news conference that a sampling plan was being developed that would include the Fraser River, as well as other bodies of water affected by the spill of 14.5 million cubic meters of mine wastes
    Preliminary water samples collected by the province's Ministry of Environment staff at several locations in Quesnel Lake were being tested for a number of contaminants. Sample collection is ongoing and BC Interior Health is monitoring regularly to ensure the health safety of residents in affected areas, to determine when restrictions on water use can be lifted, according to a statement on Interior Health's website.
    British Columbia's Watershed Watch Salmon Society notes that the containment wall rupture in the tailings pond unfortunately occurred as thousands of sockeye and other species of salmon are making their way upstream to spawn.
    The immediate and long term impacts of this environmental disaster are still unclear, the society said in a statement on its website.
    Imperial Metals meanwhile noted that preliminary results of water quality testing of Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River confirmed that the water samples met both provincial and federal safe drinking water guidelines and also stated that "impact to aquatic life and fish is not expected."
    You can reach Margaret Bauman with comments and suggestions at
    - See more at:
  19. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member

    Mount Polley dam breach not an environmental disaster: Mines Minister Bill Bennett

    But First Nations, residents and environmentalists have ongoing concerns


    Mount Polley dam breach not an environmental disaster: Mines Minister Bill Bennett

    Members of the Xatsull and Esketemc First Nations hold a healing ceremony on the banks of the Quesnel River in Likely on Aug. 7 after 10 million cubic metres of mining effluent was spilled following a tailings dam break at Mount Polley mine. Premier Christy Clark and Mines Minister Bill Bennett are visible in the middle of the photo.
    B.C. Mines Minister Bill Bennett says the Mount Polley tailings dam collapse is not an environmental disaster, equating it to the “thousands” of avalanches that happen annually in B.C.

    Bennett, pointing to initial positive water readings, asserted his contention will be proven in the next several weeks.

    Central B.C. First Nations, some area residents and Williams Lake mayor Kerry Cook have described the collapse of the dam as an “environmental disaster.”

    The Aug. 4 collapse of a 300-metre section of the gravel and earth dam spewed 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of finely ground up rock containing potentially toxic metals into Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.

    While the water readings in Quesnel Lake and Quesnel River have been positive, some residents, First Nations and environmentalists have raised concerns over the long-term effects of the sludge that poured into Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake. It will also take longer to determine the environmental effects of the spill, including on salmon, they say.

    Bennett acknowledged the dam collapse may be a mining industry, a geotechnical and a political disaster.

    But he said that has to be separated from the environmental effects.

    “Get up in a helicopter and go and look at the avalanches that happen in this province — there are probably 10,000 or 15,000 avalanches that happen every single year. Get up in a helicopter and go and look at what happened last spring with the events in the Rockies with water coming down and doing exactly what happened in Hazeltine Creek. The difference is that snow melts, (but) you are left with exactly the same (result) — it looks exactly the same as what happened in Hazeltine Creek,” said Bennett.

    “It’s a mess. It’s a total mess, there’s no question about that ... What’s going to happen here, is we are going to be left with this opportunity to learn from this huge, profound mistake that’s been made here,” he said.

    Bennett made his comments to The Vancouver Sun following the release of water-test results Saturday.

    It was the third set of results that showed water met B.C. and Canadian water guidelines for metals such as arsenic, copper, mercury and selenium.

    An E. coli test result (that passed guidelines) was also released Saturday for the mouth of Hazeltine Creek, the sample closest to where the water and tailings spilled into Quesnel Lake. The results for metals testing on the Hazeltine Creek water sample were not available by Monday.

    Jay Ritchlin, the western region director general for the David Suzuki Foundation, said while there’s little doubt the dam collapse was “bad” and that it will require longer-term monitoring to determine its effects, he saw little use in arguing whether it was an environmental disaster.

    Instead, said Ritchlin, the province should use the incident as a learning lesson.

    He said the industry has to raise its environmental standards.

    “It’s not a question of the sky is falling or the mining industry should be shut down, but we know that tailings management has advanced to the point that most really sophisticated mines dry and stack their tailings,” Ritchlin said. “They just don’t build the mud walls and put a bunch of wet, toxic soup behind it anymore.”

    John Werring, senior science adviser with the David Suzuki Foundation, said he believed the dam collapse was an “environmental disaster” for the Hazeltine creek area, as the entire rich vegetation zone along its banks had been wiped out and along with it, the mammals, birds, amphibians and fish.

    He argued for long-term monitoring, as well as for additional monitoring of chemicals toxic to fish called xanthates that are used in the mine milling process. (The Ministry of Environment did not immediately have an answer Monday on whether they were testing for xanthates).

    Werring said he was also concerned about the effect on spawning sockeye salmon that will pass the area adjacent to Hazeltine Creek where tailings sediments poured into Quesnel Lake.

    It could affect their physiology and their ability to find their spawning streams, he said.

    Carl Walters, a professor emeritus at the University of B.C.’s Fisheries Centre, said he doesn’t believe the effects on spawning sockeye are likely to be great.

    He noted that the main sockeye spawning tributaries enter Quesnel Lake well upstream of where the spill entered the lake. “The water sampling support my estimation that the nasty chemicals and slit were seriously diluted upon entry to Quesnel Lake,” he said.

    Fisheries biologist Richard Holmes, who lives in the community of Likely located next to the Quesnel River near Mount Polley mine, noted there are reports that some of the outflow from the spill has been pushed up the lake. Holmes said while he believes the large amount of water in Quesnel Lake will minimize the damage, more monitoring is needed to determine effects on fish.

    First Nations in the area, who state they don’t believe the government’s water tests, say they are going to begin testing salmon in the Mount Polley mine area to see if they are safe to eat.

    “I challenge anyone to come up to our territory and look at this disaster and say everything is fine,” said Williams Lake Indian Band chief Ann Louie.

    Read more:
  20. agentaqua

    agentaqua Well-Known Member
    First Nations worry Mount Polley impact not as benign as claimed
    Aboriginal and environmental groups seek independent testing of lakes, rivers
    CBC News Posted: Aug 11, 2014 1:03 PM PT Last Updated: Aug 11, 2014 1:32 PM PT

    Xatsull First Nation on mine spill 2:09

    Salmon in the Quesnel water system 6:04

    Political Insiders on Mount Polley mine spill 8:42

    Mount Polley mine spill: Drinking-water ban lifted for most of Likely, B.C.

    First Nations whose traditional territories have been spoiled by the Mount Polley tailings pond failure are seeking independent reviews of environmental testing already underway.

    "We are going to be looking at getting independent scientists and people to help us determine whether if the disaster is as benign as they say, said Bev Sellars, Chief of the Xatsull First Nation, or Soda Creek Indian Band. "We don't believe it is."

    The Chief of the Williams Lake Indian Band is taking also exception to the controlled release of water in Polley Lake into Hazeltine Creek. The runoff was approved after tests confirmed water quality close to historically safe levels.

    MORE | Controlled release of Polley Lake water in mine tailings pond breach underway
    IN DEPTH | What happens to tailings pond effluent over time

    "I don't know that anybody knows the safety of the water testing that they're doing right now is surface," said Chief Ann Louie. "What about the sediments? I keep saying the plug that's sitting in front of Polley Lake is huge."

    Environmental groups in the area, where the mine has operated for 17 years, say it's still unclear what kind of minerals and heavy metals may be in the outflow.

    The flow out of the breach has decreased dramatically, but has not completely stopped. Imperial Metals has begun building a temporary dike to stop flow out of the pond.

    Staff from the First Nations Health Authority are working to determine if it's safe to consume fish from the waterways, focusing on salmon tissue sampling in the confluence areas of the Quesnel and Fraser River.

    Concerns over B.C.'s salmon population 3:15

    The water quality advisory remains in place for communities that get their water from Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, Cariboo Creek and all parts of Quesnel Lake, as well as the Quesnel River south of 6236 Cedar Creek Road. This includes the communities of Winkley Creek, Abbott Creek, Mitchell Bay and the East Arm of Quesnel Lake.

    Failure of an earthen dam, one week ago, released billions of litres of mine tailings into nearby creeks, lakes and rivers in the Cariboo region.

    Environment Minister Mary Polak is appealing to people who knew of safety issues or concerns prior to the spill to come forward and speak with independent investigators on site.

    If allegations are proven, she says the provincial government will deal with the matter directly.
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 12, 2014

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