Yellow Giant mine on Banks Island

Banks Island miners face 18 pollution charges

Gold mine near Prince Rupert shut down last summer for permit violations, owners charged for failing to report spill

Two men and a mining company in receivership have been charged with 18 pollution infractions related to their shut-down gold mine on an island near Prince Rupert.

Benjamin Mossman and Dirk Meckert are scheduled to appear in Prince Rupert provincial court Sept. 7. Also charged is Banks Island Gold Ltd., which went into receivership after being shut down last year for provincial permit violations.

The Yellow Giant mine was ordered shut down by the Ministry of Environment in July 2015 after a tailings spill was reported on a tip. There is one charge of failing to report a spill of a polluting substance, and the other 17 charges are for failing to comply with permits.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice raised the issue in the legislature this spring, after receiving a letter from the Gitxaala First Nation referring to two separate tailings spills. Rice said the ministry did not inspect the operation for 15 months, until receiving a complaint.

NDP mining critic Norm Macdonald told the legislature a worker at the mine “became fed up, put his job on the line, sent the ministry and me a tip and pictures that documented what was going on there.”

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the mine was shut down when the situation was brought to its attention. The mine’s 90 employees lost their jobs.

The province has a $420,000 security bond from the mining company, to provide ongoing monitoring. In March the mines ministry and Banks Island Gold removed explosives from the mine site and in May ministry technical staff assessed the hazardous materials on site.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service, which recommended the charges, would not comment on the current condition of the Banks Island site, because it is evidence for the prosecution.

 

Just Posted

Alex Cuba returns to the Mary Winspear

Alex Cuba, who lives in Smithers, B.C., has been writing a lot… Continue reading

Residents want North Saanich bike lane revamped

Claim lack of transparency; little public input on West Saanich Road project

World Rowing Coastal Championships coming to Sidney

Event will make its Canadian and North America debut in October

Outdoor pot growing will be legal, but will producers bite?

With Canada’s marijuana legalization laws slated for July 1, 2018, there continue… Continue reading

WATCH: Vancouver Island man catches dashcam video of near head-on crash

Video shows oncoming van cross over centre line

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

B.C. files new legal action against TransMountain pipeline

Province tries to uphold City of Burnaby bylaws, provoking Alberta

BCHL Today: Powell River stuns Vernon and BCHL grads lead Team Canada

BCHL Today is a (near) daily look at what’s going on around the league and the junior A world.

Reports of money laundering in B.C. real estate ‘troubling’: attorney general

News report alleges people connected to fentanyl trade are using B.C. real estate to launder money

OLYMPIC ROUNDUP: Two more medals for Canada, and men’s hockey loss

Team Canada shines on the speed skating track, but fall short against the Czechs in hockey

Air ambulance used parking lot for patient transfer because it was most efficient option

Lack of certification for helipad at Comox Valley Hospital not a factor in decision

RCMP member challenges court to prevent further disciplinary action

RCMP member launches appeal to avoid new hearing over alleged harassment

Port of Vancouver program examines impact of marine noise on local whales

Man-made noises can interfere with orcas’ ability to hunt and communicate with other pod members

Most Read