Demand Accountability for the Mount Polley Mine Disaster
TAKE ACTION > MAKE AN URGENT CALL
Demand accountability for the Mount Polley mine disaster
In 2015 various government agencies and the RCMP launched a criminal investigation into the Mount Polley mine disaster that happened on August 4, 2014 in central British Columbia. The offices of Imperial Metals and its subsidiary, Mount Polley Mining Corporation, were raided by officers who carted away boxes of documents, computers and other evidence.
Nearly 5 years after the disaster, Canadians still are no closer to the truth about what the investigation uncovered. Investigators only have months left before the statutory deadline to lay charges under the Federal Fisheries and Oceans Act.
Residents of Quesnel Lake and Indigenous peoples harmed by the disaster are asking: Will Canada provide justice for the victims of the Mount Polley disaster?
We are deeply concerned that despite recommendations from the United Nations’ highest authorities on racism and on corporate accountability that Canada hold those responsible to account, the investigation may not lead to charges. It is important to remember that neither Imperial Metals or Mount Polley Mining Corporation have been charged, fined or otherwise paid any penalty for the disaster. Crucially, independent experts contracted to investigate the causes of the disaster said that ‘business as usual’ cannot continue in BC’s mining sector. BC’s Auditor General made numerous recommendations to improve the province’s regulatory regime, not all of which have been adopted.
The collapse of the copper and gold mine’s tailings dam released 25 million cubic metres of mining waste and water into Quesnel Lake, filling parts of the western basin of the lake with toxic mine tailings. And in 2017 the company was granted a permit to dump mine waste water into that very same area of Quesnel Lake. Scientists recently published peer-reviewed research that shows that region of Quesnel Lake has high levels of copper and bacteria consistent with the presence of mine tailings. This means the water in the lake has been changed because of the failure of Imperial Metals’ mine.
No one has been held accountable. And we need our government to fix that.
For a deeper understanding of what the Mount Polley mine disaster and what people who were harmed are asking for, please view our Mount Polley Fact Sheet.
To phone the Canadian Government, select the Minister(s) you wish to call, then click the yellow MAKE THE CALL button.
- You will receive a phone call at the number you provided and then you will be connected to the office of the first contact you selected.
- You might not reach the Minister directly. You might reach a staff member or an answering machine. Ask them to pass your message on to the Minister/Prime Minister.
- You don’t need to say more than a few words to let the Minister/Prime Minister know that you are concerned and want the government to do the right thing.
- If you get a busy signal, that means that the Minister/Prime Minister is hearing from lots of other people like you. Be sure to try again later.
- If you chose to speak to more than one Minister, stay on the line after the first call (do not hang up) and you will automatically be connected to the next Minister.
REMEMBER: Lots of people feel nervous about calling an authority. But the Minister works for you and for everyone in Canada! The Minister’s office receives calls all day from members of the public about issues relevant to their portfolio. So don’t be shy! Your phone call will make an enormous difference and help the Minister understand that justice for Mount Polley should be a high priority.
Here is a simple message for you to say:
My name is _____ and I live in (name of city). 5 years ago the tailings dam at the Mount Polley copper mine owned by Imperial Metals collapsed, polluting Quesnel Lake with mining chemicals. Indigenous peoples’ food security, health and cultural practices have been affected. Various UN bodies have called on Canada to release health impact studies, the results of the criminal investigation and provide remedy to those harmed. The people responsible for the disaster must be held accountable.
If you wish to use your own words instead of using our sample script, here are some key points to mention:
- Your name and city/province.
- The Mount Polley mine disaster in 2014 released millions of cubic metres of toxic mine waste and water into Quesnel Lake, destroyed Hazeltine Creek and surrounding habitat. The disaster occurred at the start of the annual salmon fishery, crucial to food security for Indigenous peoples in the region.
- Healthy wild food, like salmon, moose and berries, and clean drinking water are vital to well-being and cultural practices among Indigenous peoples
- In 2015, the BC Conservation Officer Service, the RCMP, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada launched a criminal investigation into the disaster.
- The statute of limitations for criminal charges under federal laws will expire on August 4, 2019. I want the investigation to result in charges if the evidence shows corporate wrong-doing.
- The right to remedy is a fundamental human right.
- The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and the UN Committee for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination both called on Canada to hold those responsible to account, provide remedy to affected communities, and ensure those harmed have access to health impact studies.
- Canada has not yet laid charges, fined the company, provide remedy to those harmed or released independent health impacts findings.
- Therefore, I call on you to________.