Amnesty International delivers hundreds of solidarity messages to communities affected by the Mount Polley mine disaster
VANCOUVER, B.C. – On the 5th anniversary of the Mount Polley Mine disaster, a delegation lead by Amnesty International will travel to Mitchell Bay on Quesnel Lake to deliver hundreds of messages of solidarity from all over Canada to people affected by the 2014 mining disaster.
Starting on Aug. 1, the delegation will follow the salmon’s migratory route from the Pacific Ocean, up the Fraser River and to Quesnel Lake, known as an ‘incubator’ for returning salmon. They’ll make several stops along the way, taking photos of the “solidarity salmon” messages and those travelling with the caravan.
“These solidarity messages show that Canadians have been watching the devastating aftermath of the Mount Polley Mine disaster – which is still ongoing,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “We at Amnesty International are also throwing our support behind Indigenous peoples and those living near Quesnel Lake who have been harmed by the contamination stemming from the mining disaster.”
On Aug. 4, 2014, a portion of the Mount Polley copper mine tailings pond collapsed, releasing 25 million cubic metres of mine wastewater into the pristine Quesnel Lake. Although it has been named the worst environmental mining disaster in Canadian history, no charges have been laid, despite recommendations by two independent United Nations bodies to do so. Furthermore, Imperial Metals, the company responsible for the mine, continues to pump mine wastewater into Quesnel Lake and has applied for a permit keep doing so in perpetuity.
“The government’s failure to lay charges for the Mount Polley mine disaster sends a bad message to other mining companies that they can pollute BC waterways and get away with it,” said Tara Scurr, Business and Human Rights campaigner. “The people living near and downstream of Quesnel Lake deserve better. At the minimum, they are calling on the province to revoke the company’s permit to discharge waste water into Quesnel Lake. Ultimately, we would all like to see charges laid and accountability for this disaster.”
The Caravan is due to arrive at Quesnel Lake on Aug. 4 to join in a commemoration of the 5th anniversary of the disaster, which will be hosted by the Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake. Journalists and other members of the media are encouraged to follow the caravan on social media using the hashtag #JusticeForQuesnelLake
For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact:
Beth Berton-Hunter, Amnesty International Canada, 416-904-7158, firstname.lastname@example.org