BC First Nations band evicts Mount Polley tailings pond owner over water

CHASE — A First Nations band in British Columbia has issued an eviction notice to the company that owns the Mount Polley tailings pond, which spilled millions of cubic metres of waste in the Cariboo region.The Neskonlith are urging Imperial Metals Corp. to leave their land, which is in the Thompson Okanagan region, about 48 kilometres east of Kamloops near the village of Chase.Imperial Metals is surveying a 211-square-kilometre area for zinc and lead for a project called the Ruddock Creek mine, which is unrelated to the Mount Polley mine.The band issued a statement saying the group will not permit any mining development that would contaminate water or destroy salmon habitat, as elders do not want the area poisoned.The band says it opposes the Ruddock Creek Mine because Imperial Metals failed to protect First Nations land when the Mount Polley tailings pond breached.The Neskonlith was not directly affected by the Mount Polley breach, but it is one of 17 bands that form the Secwepemc (She-whep-m) First Nation, some of which were affected by the accident.Imperial Metals did not immediately respond to requests for comment.Earlier this week, the company said it doesn’t see any sign that the accident will delay the startup of another mine it’s developing in the province.Imperial plans to start operations this year at its $570 million Red Chris mine in the province which, like Mount Polley, will produce copper and gold and place waste in a pond at the site. The accident at Mount Polley, which is about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Vancouver, may delay Red Chris by a year, Raymond Goldie, a Toronto-based analyst at Salman Partners Inc., said Aug. 5.“It’s going to be human nature for people to think like that,” Steve Robertson, Imperial’s vice president of corporate affairs, said in an Aug. 9 interview at Mount Polley. “We haven’t received any indication from the government that there will be any change to our ability to go ahead and commission Red Chris.” read more