Mining and Human Rights in BC: Mt Polley disaster
The Mt Polley gold and copper mine is owned by Canadian company Imperial Metals and located near the community of Likely, British Columbia. On August 4th, 2014, the mine's tailings dam breached, spilling 24 million cubic metres of toxic slurry into tlocal waterways and ultimately into the pristine Quesnel Lake. The full extent of impacts and damages caused by this major breach are still being assessed more than two years later.
Amnesty International travelled to Likely, BC in 2015 and 2016 to research the human rights impact of the breach. We met with First Nations, local residents and businesses, government officials, scientists, and the union that represents the mine's workers. Neither Imperial Metals or Mount Polley Mining Corporation have responded to our requests for a meeting.
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Sign the petition! SumOfUs has launched a petition calling on the Prime Minister to hold Imperial Metals to account for the Mt Polley disaster.
Call for Public Inquiry Launched: Today, the University of Victoria’s Environmental Law Centre and Fair Mining Collaborative launched a formal request for the province to establish a Judicial Commission of Public Inquiry into BC’s mining regulations. The Centre's report, Fixing Systemic Failures in BC's Mining Regulation: the Urgent Need for A Judicial Inquiry, outlines the dysfunction of BC's mining regulatory system and need for reform.
Blog: A Water Defender working to protect the lake she loves shares her thoughts on Quesnel Lake in the winter.
News release: Private prosecution filed against BC Government and Mt Polley: press release
Amnesty op-ed in the Tyee: Where's the Will to Protect British Columbians' Rights After Resource Disasters?
Second anniversary of Mt Polley spill: Canadians Remember
First anniversary of Mt Polley spill: One year anniversary of Mt Polley
2015 Research Mission
July 23 Blog posting : Day 4 - Amnesty on the ground
July 21 Blog posting : Day 1 - Amnesty on the ground
Recommended reading about the Mt Polley disaster and BC's mining sector:
- BC Government website on the Mount Polley Mine disaster (technical information as well as formal reports)
- Office of the Auditor General of British Columbia report: An Audit of the Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector
- BC's Information and Privacy Commissioner: Review of the Mount Polley Tailings Pond Failure and Public Interest Disclosure by Public Bodies
- Union of BC Indian Chiefs report on Financial Risk in BC's mining industry: Toward Financial Responsibility in British Columbia's Mining Industry
- First Nations Health Authority: Mount Polley Health Impact Assessment
- BC First Nations Energy and Mining Report: Uncertainty Upstream: Potential Threats from Tailings Facility Failures in Northern BC
- Huffpost Op-Ed: Xat'sull First Nation: All is Not Well 2 Years After Mount Polley Mine Disaster
- West Coast Environmental Law: Modernizing BC's Free-Entry Mining Laws for a Vibrant, Sustainable Mining Sector
- Fair Mining Collaborative: The Path to Zero Failures; Health, Safety and Reclamation Code Review
- MiningWatch Canada private prosecution for the Mount Polley tailings pond failure: Mount Polley on Trial website
- Concerned Citizens of Quesnel Lake blog
- Imperial Metals Mount Polley webpage