Friday, February 6, 2015

BC Government and Imperial Metals Go Ahead with Mine in the Taku River

Imperial Metals was responsible for the Mount Polley mine disaster - photo CBC news

The BC Government has given Imperial Metals the go ahead to begin construction and testing of a tailings pond at the proposed site of the Red Chris Mine in the Taku River watershed. Imperial Metals is the mining company responsible for the Mount Polley Mine disaster this past summer. Ironically news of the permit approval came the same week that police executed a search warrant at the Mount Polley Mine site looking for evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the company. Worse yet, a recent review highlighted major shortcomings in the design of the tailings pond at Red Chris, and because of the mining process and ore being extracted at Red Chris mine, a spill there could be far more toxic and catastrophic, raising alarm and anger among downstream fishing communities in Alaska

The mine is within the territory of the Tahltan First Nation, and a blockade by community members this summer prompted the review which exposed the faulty designs for the tailings pond. The Taku is also a Transboundary river, meaning that it flows across the BC border into Alaska, and is a major producer of sockeye and other salmon which support commercial fisheries in the state.

Despite the opposition, risks, and the recent turn of events the government is allowing the project to proceed. Perhaps not surprising given the long cozy relationship between Christy Clark's liberal government, and the fact that a major shareholder in the company held a $1-million dollar fundraiser for Clarks re-election bid at the Calgary Petroleum Club in 2013. The company has also donated close to $150,000 to the Liberal Part of BC in the last 10 years.

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