I am writing in response to the Sept. 16 article in the Williams Lake Tribune regarding the Mount Polley administrative monetary penalty (AMP) appeal, titled Mount Polley Mining Corporation loses administrative penalty appeal.
Firstly, it is important to note the AMP was issued because of an administrative lapse. The penalty was not issued because of harm to the environment – a fact borne out not only by our own studies and third-party experts but also by the Ministry of Environment themselves.
Secondly, the matter that was the subject of our AMP and the resulting appeal was the permit contained an unachievable timeline requirement. The permit was also in conflict with basic principles of science and objectivity because it compelled the findings of studies before the studies were even done. Starting a study with preformed conclusions violates basic principles of objectivity, science, and engineering and yet the permit conditions for which we were issued an AMP did exactly that.
I am pleased to report those requirements were amended last year through mutual agreement with the B.C. Ministry of Environment and Mount Polley and were part of a consent order issued by the B.C. Environmental Appeal Board in September of 2020. In short, we were issued a penalty for a provision in our permit that the ministry agreed had to be changed.
Mount Polley has been moving forward with the development of passive water treatment methods and we have done studies with numerous passive technologies, both in the laboratory and in the field. These treatment methods offer resilience over the long term, with a much smaller carbon footprint than many “conventional” methods. All our reports have been provided to the B.C. Ministry of Environment. Permits need to allow and enable objective and scientifically appropriate innovation and not be based on presumption of outcome.
At present, we are very pleased with our tangible environmental remediation results. About three weeks ago, we finalized the last stage of aquatic habitat construction in Hazeltine Creek. No sooner did our crews finish work than more than a hundred sockeye salmon spawners moved in. They love the habitat that Mount Polley built. The setting of habitat objectives and the actual biological designs of the habitat were done with the deep involvement of the Williams Lake First Nation and the Xat’sull First Nation. We are grateful for everyone’s effort in bringing us (and the sockeye salmon spawners) to this successful outcome.
We are also looking forward to bringing back local jobs and benefits and contributing to the provincial economy as our mine moves towards restart. To achieve that, we will need workable and appropriate permits to be in place.
COO, Imperial Metals