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.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

SD 10 students set to return to school next week

Representatives from each school will reach out to parents before June 1 about back to school plans

Morning start: Numerous shipwrecks can be found below Kootenay Lake

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Thursday, May 28

West Kootenay jogger barely escapes bruin attack

Man spends two hours up in tree, bear not located

Young farmers find a home through land-matching program

Young Agrarians links would-be farmers with landowners who have land to spare

B.C. legislature coming back June 22 as COVID-19 emergency hits record

Pandemic restrictions now longer than 2017 wildfire emergency

COVID-19: B.C. too dependent on foreign food production workers

New B.C. job site links unemployed with farm, seafood work

B.C. businesses ‘can’t shoulder burden’ of COVID-19 sick pay

Trudeau’s plan should be tied to federal emergency aid

Another Asian giant ‘murder hornet’ found in Lower Mainland

This is the farthest east the invasive species has been found so far

B.C. girl left temporarily paralyzed by tick bite sparks warning from family

Mom says parents need to check their kids when they go camping

PHOTOS: Loved ones reunite at an oasis on closed U.S.-Canada border in Surrey

Officials closed the park in mid-March over coronavirus concerns

Feds delay national action plan for missing and murdered Indigenous women

Meanwhile, the pandemic has exacerbated the violence facing many Indigenous women and girls

B.C.’s essential grocery, hardware store employees should get pandemic pay: retail group

Only B.C.’s social, health and corrections workers are eligible for top-ups

COLUMN: Canada needs to remember rural communities as thoughts turn to pandemic recovery

Small towns often rely on tourism, which has been decimated by COVID-19

Most Read