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The Common Sense Canadian: Red Chris Mine: First Nations win round 1 with Imperial Metals in court

Tahltan and Secwepemc First Nations and supporters celebrate at the BC Supreme Court (contributed)

BC First Nations added a small but potentially significant notch to their legal winning streak yesterday, with a temporary victory over Imperial Metals in BC Supreme Court.

The company was seeking an interlocutory injunction and enforcement order enabling it to have Tahltan Nation protesters immediate, forcibly removed from a blockade of Red Chris Mine, Imperial’s lastest venture, in northwest BC’s Sacred Headwaters.

Red Chris Mine under construction (Unuk River Post)

After hearing from the company’s lawyers and three First Nations women fromt he Tahltan and Secwepemc Nations, Justice Grauer refused (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Imperial Metals asks court to remove Red Chris Mine blockade

First Nations have been protesting several Imperial Metals mines since Mount Polley (Photo: Facebook)

Imperial Metals, the company behind the Mount Polley tailing pond disaster, is seeking an injunction today at the BC Supreme Court to forcibly remove Tahltan First Nations protestors from a blockade of the company’s newest project, Red Chris Mine.

In a media advisory this morning, the leaders of the Yuct Ne Senxiymetkwe Camp – established near Mount Polley mine by a group of local Secwepemc First Nations following the largest tailings pond spill in history – announced a protest of the injunction proceedings outside the Vancouver court house where they (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Audio: From Site C’s economic folly to update on Mount Polley

The Common Sense Canadian’s Damien Gillis and CFAX 1070′s Ian Jessop discuss the economic disaster that the proposed Site C Dam represents from British Columbians.

At a projected cost of over $100 per megawatt hour – and likely more than $8 billion for construction – the project stands to lose BC taxpayers and Hydro ratepayers $350 million a year, says industrial energy expert Dan Potts.

All this for power we don’t need for BC’s homes and businesses, which are already self-sufficient in electricity well into the foreseeable future. BC Liberal government’s reasons for building Site C are either power liquefied natural gas projects or (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Mount Polley disaster: More misinformation than facts

Likely resident Lawna Bourassa displays cloudy water taken from the shore of Quesnel Lake (Damien Gillis)

Since day one the claim has been that the tailings flowing from Mount Polley mine’s breached dam were “stopped”, yet one month after the BC Day Disaster occurred, the Ministry of Environment found Mount Polley to be “out of compliance”, and on September 9 – fully 5 days later – issued an “advisory letter” pleading that the company do more to bring the tailings discharge to a halt.

This pattern of misinformation permeates virtually every significant piece of information related to the disaster.

From conflicting data on the (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Mount Polley whistleblower lost job, then home

Larry Chambers warned Imperial Metals that its tailings pond was bound to fail – and he was fired for it, the Likely, BC resident told media in Vancouver earlier today.

He and his wife, Lawna Bourassa-Keuster, have now lost their home on once-beautiful Quensnel Lake – too afraid to drink the cloudy and discoloured water, which they brought with them to Vancouver in a jar.

Cloudy water from Quesnel Lake (Damien Gillis)

“Christy Clark did come to Likely and at that time, she informed us that she would make sure that Quesnel Lake would be brought back to its pristine state,” said Bourassa-Keuster. “We (Read more…)

Political Eh-conomy: Political Eh-conomy Radio: BC teachers and First Nations on the frontlines

My guests today help take a fresh look at two issues where British Columbia is on the front lines of bigger social conflicts: that over the future of public education and that over resource development on First Nations lands.

https://politicalehconomy.files.wordpress.com/2014/09/podcast-140905-bc-frontlines1.mp3

My first guest is Helesia Luke, life-long public education advocate and member of the board of the BC Society for Public Education. In the midst of BC’s continuing teachers’ strike, she recently wrote a very incisive article on how the government’s $40 per day cash payment to parents are reminiscent of vouchers and fit with broader efforts (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Mount Polley spill may be far bigger than initially revealed

Aerial image after Mount Polley mine tailings spill (Cariboo Regional District)

Volumes of water, tailings and other debris released into the environment by the August 4 breach of Imperial Metals’ tailings pond at Mount Polley Mine were at least 70% higher than initial estimates, the company revealed on its website yesterday.

Now, a report from BC Tapwater Alliance, using satellite imagery from NASA and the US Geological Survey to estimate the size of the containment facility, suggests even the company’s re-estimate may still be significantly underplaying the true scale of the disaster.

While the company boosted estimates from 14.5 million cubic metres of water and (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Imperial boosts Mount Polley spill estimate by 10 million cubic metres

The silty mud remaining in Hazeltine Creek after Mount Polley tailings dam breach (Carol Linnitt / Desmog.ca)

In an update on the Mount Polley mine disaster, owner Imperial Metals has boosted its estimates on tailings, water and debris released into the environment by the failure of its tailings dam on August 4.

Compared with earlier estimates of 10 million cubic metres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of solid tailings, the company is now figuring the following:

Supernatant water 10.6Mm3 Tailings Slurry: tailings solids 7.3Mm3; interstitial water 6.5Mm3 Construction materials 0.6Mm3

(Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Suzuki: Canada at risk for more Mount Polley-type disasters

A resident of the region surveys Hazeltine Creek following tailings dam breach (Chris Blake)

When a tailings pond broke at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine in south-central B.C., spilling millions of cubic metres of waste into a salmon-bearing stream, B.C. Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett called it an “extremely rare” occurrence, the first in 40 years for mines operating here.

He failed to mention the 46 “dangerous or unusual occurrences” that B.C’s chief inspector of mines reported at tailings ponds in the province between 2000 and 2012, as well as breaches at non-operating (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Mount Polley: Interior Health issues new warning against drinking Quesnel Lake water

Debris pouring into Quesnel Lake (Photo: Farhan Umedaly, Vovo Productions / Desmog.ca)

An advisory from Interior Health yesterday raises fresh questions about the quality of drinking water from Quensnel Lake following the Mount Polley tailings dam breach.

“Although test results continue to show that water sourced from Quesnel Lake is safe to drink, reports indicate that water quality is changing as lake water and the sediment plume shifts,” the advisory notes, raising doubt about the earlier lifting of a drinking water ban for the town of Likely, on Quensnel Lake.

The reappearance of water quality concerns on Quesnel Lake may be linked to (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Why not enough ‘red tape’ = too much red ink: Mount Polley and the problem with de-regulation

CFAX 1070′s Ian Jessop interviews Damien Gillis on the Mount Polley mine disaster and consequences of the BC Liberals’ de-regulation policy on the environment and economy. Why not enough ‘red tape’ leads to too much red ink for shareholders and taxpayers. (Aug. 20 / 20 min)

The post Why not enough ‘red tape’ = too much red ink: Mount Polley and the problem with de-regulation appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.

The Common Sense Canadian: Opinion: Mount Polley demands full Judicial Inquiry – under oath

By Ed Mankelow

The Tailings Dam breach at the Mount Polley Mine is likely the worst mining disaster that this province has seen and it could be getting worse. If the salmon and trout stocks of Quesnel Lake are impacted on their spawning journey to Quesnel Lake and feeder streams, then not only this year’s run but the runs from this year’s spawning of salmon and trout could be lost.

There are abandoned mines in BC and this is especially true with copper mines that have gone acid and leaked into rivers and lakes for years. An example would be (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Rafe: Bennett should resign over Mount Polley

In the old days of BC politics, Minister Bennett would fall on his sword, says Rafe Mair (Youtube / Got News Network)

One day, in 1863, Mr. Byrne decided to take a stroll to get a little bit of Liverpool air. As he ambled down the street he went past Mr. Boadle’s flour factory. To his considerable surprise and horror, flying out of the window on the second floor, came a barrel of flour which fell upon Mr. Byrne, knocked him to the ground, inflicting on him grievous bodily injury.

Mr. Byrne, a tad upset by all of this, decided (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Biologist documents blue film on Quesnel River following Mount Polley spill

Independent biologist Alexandra Morton has documented the appearance of a mysterious blue film on the surface of Quesnel Lake and the Quesnel River. Morton has been surveying the region’s aquatic systems – taking water samples, video and photos – in the wake of the Mount Polley tailings spill.

She posted the above video and below photos on her blog yesterday. Taken in the town of Likely, at the northwest tip of Quesnel Lake and mouth of the Quesnel River, Morton says the images correspond with an earlier sighting of the same film on another portion of the lake the day before. “It was visible wherever (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Is Mount Polley making people sick? Anecdotal clues, questions mount

Hazeltine Creek following Mount Polley Mine’s tailings dam breach (Photo: Chris Blake)

A series of anecdotal reports of illness from suffered by people in close proximity to the Mount Polley Mine tailings dam breach is prompting a local First Nation to push the premier for a study of potential airborne contaminants – and calls for an independent inquiry into the still-unfolding disaster.

“I was very sick”

Sylvia Palm is a 40-year resident of Likely, BC. Her home, near Cedar Point Park on Quesnel Lake, is 5 km northeast of Hazeltine Creek, where debris began flowing out of Polley Lake after Imperial Metals’ tailings dam burst on August 4.

At that moment, (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Mount Polley highlights risk of Red Chris, KSM tailings dam failures

Flannigan Slough, just downstream from proposed Tulsequah Chief Mine (Chris Miller)

By any measure, the giant tailings dam rupture at Imperial Metal’s Mount Polley Copper Mine is a disaster for downstream communities and wild salmon. The massive dam breach released a raging torrent of slurry mine waste into Hazeltine Creek and Quesnel Lake, prompting local emergency response officials to warn downstream residents not to drink, cook with, bathe in, or come into contact with the effluent.

To make matters worse, the complete failure of the tailings dam occurred just before the annual sockeye salmon run, endangering critical spawning (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Mount Polley bankruptcy could leave BC public footing cleanup bill

Rod Marining, a resident of the region, surveys the damage after Mount Polley Mine tailings pond breach

Republished with permission from 250news.com

By Peter Ewart

The clean-up costs for the massive tailing pond spill at Imperial Metals’ Polley Mountain mine have been estimated by some to range between $50 and $500 million. In addition, legal action will undoubtedly be launched by individuals, businesses, and First Nations in the region which could result in hundreds of millions more in costs. And then there are law firms launching suits on behalf of Imperial stockholders who have suffered huge stock losses when (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: First Nation evicts Imperial Metals from proposed mine site

Secwepemc Women’s Warrior Society members lead a rally against Imperial Metals (Youtube/ ochiese)

Read this Aug. 12 story from Global News on the Neskonlith Indian Band’s eviction notice to Mount Polley owner Imperial Metals regarding exploratory work for a proposed zinc-lead mine in their territory, near Revelstoke, BC.

VANCOUVER – The Neskonlith Indian Band has released a statement saying they have issued an eviction notice to Imperial Metals, the company that runs the Mount Polley Mine where the tailings pond breached more than a week ago.

Ruddock Creek Mining Corporation, a subsidiary of Imperial Metals, is hoping to operate an underground (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: After Mount Polley, Alaska Senator doesn’t trust BC’s environmental reviews for mines

US Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)

The following is an open letter from Alaskan US Senator Lisa Murkowski to Secretary of State John Kerry.

Dear Secretary Kerry,

I am writing to reiterate my concerns about large-scale mining in British Columbia, which has the potential to adversely affect downstream fisheries and communities in Southeast Alaska.

The tailings pond breach at the Mount Polley Mine on August 4th has renewed the specter of environmental impacts from large-scale hardrock mineral developments in Canada that are located near transboundary rivers. While it is encouraging that Canadian officials are publicly stating that preliminary test results show contaminant levels (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Oops! Mount Polley owner may not have any environmental insurance

Aerial image of recent Mount Polley mine tailings spill (Cariboo Regional District)

Read this Aug. 12 250news.com column by Peter Ewart, raising concerns about Imperial Metals’ insurance for cleaning up its toxic tailing pond spill at Polley Lake, BC.

Does Imperial Metals have environmental insurance?

It is a statement that may come back to haunt them depending upon whether it is still valid. In 2002, in a “Plan of Arrangement” document regarding restructuring the company, Imperial Metals announced it would purchase insurance in amounts “to be adequate to protect itself against certain business and mining risks”. The document (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Toxic Mexican copper mine spill prompts water restrictions

Grupo Mexico’s Buenavista del Cobre mine

Read this Aug 11 story from mining-technology.com on a toxic wastewater spill from a Mexican copper mine.

Mexican authorities have imposed restrictions on water supplies in some cities and towns in the northern part of the country, including the Sonora state capital of Hermosillo, following a spill of contaminated wastewater from the nearby copper mine.

Contaminated wastewater from Buenavista del Cobre, a copper mine owned by Grupo Mexico, reportedly spilled into the Bacanuchi River in north-west Mexico, killing fish and livestock.

The National Water Commission (Conagua) was quoted by InterAksyon.com as saying: “The (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Mount Polley Mine: Concerns linger amid positive water quality tests

Aerial view of debris from Mount Polley Minine tailings pond breach (Cariboo Regional District)

Read this August 9 update from CBC.ca on the water quality situation surrounding the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond breach.

The B.C. government has approved the controlled release into Hazeltine Creek of water in Polley Lake that has been backing up due to debris from the initial breach of the Mount Polley tailings pond Aug. 4.

The decision was made after Imperial Metals provided tested Polley Lake water samples that showed water quality close to historically safe levels.

The government says it will be (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Tahltan renew pressure on Imperial Metals’ Red Chris Mine in wake of Mount Polley

Tahltan First Nations and their supporters peacefully occupying a Fortune Minerals drill in the Sacred Headwaters last year

Read this August 8 story from the Terrace Standard on the renewed pressure for members of the Tahltan First Nations on Red Chris Mine, a project being developed in northwest BC by Mount Polley Mine owner Imperial Metals. The mine is close to opening but still lacks critical permits in the sensitive area of tailings pond design – a source of increased concern in the wake of the company’s recent tailings pond breach.

A group of Tahltan elders have set up a (Read more…)

Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Monica Potts responds to the big lie that increasing inequality and perpetual poverty are necessary – or indeed remotely beneficial – as elements of economic growth: Hanauer and Piketty inspire these broadsides because they are challenging, in a far more aggressive way than plutocrats and economists usually do, the conservative economic orthodoxy that has reigned since at least the 1980s. Under Ronald Reagan, we called it trickle-down economics, the idea that the men who can afford their own private jets—they’re usually men—deserve gobs of money because they provide some special entrepreneurial or innovative (Read more…)

The Common Sense Canadian: Mount Polley owner donated half a million dollars to Liberals, gets easy ride from Bennett

BC Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett (CP)

By Alex Hanson

The Bill Bennett dog and pony show has been wheeled out in the media once again, this time to cover for his long time pal and major campaign contributor Murray Edwards – the biggest shareholder at the now infamous Mount Polley Mine.

Major Liberal donor Murray Edwards

The recent debacle at Mount Polley has the potential for being the biggest environmental disaster in BC history. It has the president of the mining company, Imperial Metals, running in circles with claims that the sludge from their tailings pond is “very (Read more…)