BC Ministry of Energy and Mines Response to Mount Polley Dam Failure: Learning from the Mt Polley Experience
CIM Vancouver 2016
Mr J. Lowell Constable (B.C. Ministry of energy and Mines)
The BC Ministry of Energy and Mines (MEM) has undertaken a number of initiatives in the wake of the Mount Polley Dam failure that occurred on August 4, 2014 to reduce the risk of a similar event occurring in the future. It is recognized that this failure has impacted the confidence of the public and First Nations regarding dam safety, both in BC and in the international community as a whole.
These initiatives include: conducting an investigation into the cause(s) of the dam breach; convening an Independent Expert Review Panel to identify the mechanism of failure, identify contributing factors, and make recommendations; directing all permitted mines in BC with tailings storage facilities to provide action and information in response to two Chief Inspector’s Orders; improving transparency and availability of information regarding mine sites to the public; engaging with First Nations and local communities; updating permitting requirements for new mines; and, initiating a detailed review and update to the Health Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia.
Lessons that continue to be learned from the Mount Polley dam breach are being used to improve and promote a culture in the BC mining industry where environmental health and public safety are held paramount.