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Miner must pay $276,000 in fines after more than a thousand violations

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Mar16,2024

A ministry must pay 276,000 ;$ fines after more than a thousand infractions

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Osisko Développement offices in Wells, British Columbia. The company acquired the Barkerville gold mine in 2019.


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A mining company that spilled mining contaminants in groundwater was fined $276,360 by the provincial government. The MiningWatch Canada group denounces the fact that the original amount was reduced in part due to the pandemic.

Barkerville Gold Mines, acquired by Osisko Development in 2019, operates two gold mines and a water treatment plant near Quesnels, in the interior of British Columbia.

Between 2017 and 2021, the company received more than a thousand fines for spills of contaminants above the limits permitted by environmental standards on the Bonanza Ledge mine site.

In their report released this month, Ministry of Environment inspectors documented the discharge of sewage effluent into Lowhee Creek. An underground mine, rock dump drainage, site runoff, and surface mine effluent from a sediment control pond

They documented 417 separate violations during 68 different visits in 2020 and 2021. In addition to these violations, there were previous violations, including 215 violations in 2017 and 463 between 2018 and 2019. According to the report, this was contamination chronic and long-term.

British Columbia's Ministry of Environment initially fined $760,000 for the violations environmental data from 2020 and 2021.

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In reaction to an appeal procedure during which the company provided 10,000 pages documentation, this fine was reduced to $276,360.

According to the government report, the amount was reduced in part because several violations occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic, as public health rules, travel restrictions and business closures delayed the Barkerville Gold company's ability to carry out the necessary corrective work.

It's still quite astonishing reasoning, wonders Rodrigue Turgeon, lawyer and co-manager of the national program at MiningWatch Canada. If we give candy to the industry under these conditions, rather than tightening the screw, we open the door to loopholes which will ultimately affect the health of populations.

According to the government report, some of the contaminants found, such as nitrates, could harm invertebrates, fish and amphibians and reduce their ability to reproduce, leading to physical malformations or kill them.

More generally, Rodrigue Turgeon deplores the fact that the sanctions do not reflect the extent of the damage committed over several years.< /p>

We need to have sanctions that bring the mining companies to order, and the way to do that is by having sanctions that are dissuasive from an economic point of view and we don't see that in the current framework of the law, he said.

By email, a door A spokesperson for Osisko Développement confirmed to CBC that the company would pay the administrative penalty and that measures had been taken to remedy the situation.

Osisko Dévelopment claims to have invested more than $2 million to set up a more modern water treatment plant at the Bonanza Ledge mine. In 2021, the company also received government approval to expand its operations.

With information from Betsy Trumpener

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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