Skip to main content

A aerial view shows the Mount Polley mine near the town of Likely, B.C. Tuesday, August, 5, 2014.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The mayor of the Interior B.C. city of Williams Lake is worried about rising water levels in a containment pit at Mount Polley mine, the site of a 2014 spill of billions of litres of water.

Walt Cobb said Sunday that the water is within six metres of seeping into the surrounding area of the Quesnel River system – a threat that could lead to a mine shutdown that could affect about 200 jobs in his community.

Mr. Cobb is planning to restate his concerns at a news conference on Monday, hoping it will lead to public pressure that would urge the B.C. Environment Ministry to approve a discharge permit for the water resulting from the operations of the gold and copper mine.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Cobb said in an interview Sunday that the permit has been delayed at least three times since October.

"This delay is unacceptable," he said.

He said a shutdown of the mine operated by Imperial Metals could come within three weeks. "We don't want to get there," he said.

On Sunday, an Environment Ministry spokesperson said they expect a decision on the matter by the end of November based on submissions from varied experts.

The official, speaking on background, said the buildup is within seven metres of the limit and not expected to exceed that level before next April.

In August, 2014, a breach led to a flow of 4.5 billion litres of slurry and 10 billion litres of water into Polley Lake.

Last summer's flood closed the mine, but it has resumed partial operation in November and is now running at half capacity.

Story continues below advertisement

In a weekend statement, the Soda Creek and Williams Lake Indian bands called for swift action to deal with the "current threat" and a halt in escalating production until the risks are addressed.

"The government and the company knew that serious concerns remained, including an unresolved short-term water discharge plan, yet just as when the first dam was permitted, they ignored us right up to the end because they wanted this mine running again as soon as possible," Ann Louie, chief of the Williams Lake Indian Band, said in the statement

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter
To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies