VICTORIA – British Columbia’s Environment Ministry has ordered the operator of a mine in the province’s central interior to immediately stop the further release of toxic materials into nearby waterways after a tailings pond burst on Monday.
The government order says Mount Polley Mining Corp. must also undergo an environmental impact assessment and submit a clean-up plan by Aug. 6, as well as hand over a more detailed plan by Aug. 15.
The company has also been ordered to submit a written summary of the steps it will take to stop the release of mine tailings by next Wednesday, and report on a weekly basis how it will implement its clean-up plan.
When the tailings pond at the Mount Polley Mine, southeast of Quesnel, breached it releasing a deluge of toxic materials into Polley and Quesnel lakes and several creeks and rivers.
Imperial Metals President Brian Kynoch says the investigation into what caused the tailings pond to fail is just beginning.
The Cariboo Regional District has declared a state of local emergency, and a ban remains on all water consumption or recreational use of the Quesnel and Cariboo river systems from the spill site to the Fraser River.