THREE tailings pond engineering experts have been hired by Avanti Mining to review its waste management design for its planned Kitsault molybdenum mine.
The three – one American, one Australian and one Canadian – will make up an independent panel that while paid by Avanti, will have a full independent scope to recommend any and all changes they feel is necessary, said Avanti president Gordon Bogden last week.
He said the decision was made after the tailings pond at the Imperial Metals-owned Mount Polley copper mine in the Cariboo failed in early August. “We want to be proactive and do this now,” said Bogden, adding that the company wanted to be ahead of any regulatory changes that might be coming from the Mount Polley situation.
“The three people we have retained are very talented,” he added. “What we’re trying to be here is an example of a small company with a significant project.”
Bogden said the company has full faith in its tailings pond design which he said was approved by both the federal and provincial governments as part of their environmental review of the project.
The province gave its approval last year and the federal government this year.
Avanti is expecting word on final project financing this month for its approximately $1 billion project and has set out an aggressive two-year construction timetable with completion set for 2015.
The three-member panel has been given 16 specific items to review ranging from the tailings technology selection to earthquake design to storm water management to reclamation and closure requirements once the mine has run its course.
“And they can include anything else as well,” said Bogden.
Avanti is now the third mine or mine project in the northwest to retain independent advice for tailings pond design and construction.
Seabridge Gold, which wants to develop a large gold and copper mine at the KSM deposit area near Stewart, announced in August it was hiring independent experts to review its tailings pond plans.
The company has received provincial environmental approval and is awaiting federal environmental approval for its project.
And, following a blockade of its nearly-finished Red Chris copper mine near Iskut last month by some members of the Tahltan Nation, Imperial Metals said it had reached an agreement with the Tahltan Central Council for it to choose its own experts to review the mine’s tailings plan.