Mount Polley now has it’s much needed short-term discharge permit.
The province approved the mine’s application this afternoon to discharge water outside of the mine site.
There was concern that the mine would have to shut down if it didn’t get the permit as Springer Pit, which holds the water before it’s discharged, has a capacity of 1030 metres and it was at about 1024 metres.
The water will now be treated before being discharged down Hazeltine Creek and into Quesnel Lake.
Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb was among those pushing for a decision. “I’m very pleased. Couldn’t be a better Christmas present not only for the city but for those 200 and some employees and well as the 170 who are hoping to come back to work.”
President of United Steelworkers 1425 Paul French was equally thrilled. “It’s news we’ve all been waiting for. I want to thank ministry staff for their diligence, I know it wasn’t an easy decision for them and they’ve spent more than enough time on this and I’m just glad that it’s finally resolved.”
Final approval was made by a statutory decision maker with the Ministry of Environment following a 30-day public consultation and comment period.
Any treated and discharged water will be required to meet Ministry water quality guidelines. The short term plan will be valid for a maximum of 2 years.
This was the second of three steps for Mount Polley to continue it’s operation following the breach.
The first was authorization to conditionally restart operations in July. The final step for Imperial Metals will be to submit a long-term water treatment and discharge plan by June of next year.
with files from George Henderson MY CARIBOO NOW