Tahltan Nation president Chad Day says that in keeping with an agreement signed between it and Imperial Metals last August the council has granted permission for the company to begin releasing effluent into its tailings pond.
“Although our Nation still has some questions about the Red Chris mine, we also know that the mine is almost ready to open,” said a statement from Day.
“The permit has been issued with several conditions including commitments to follow all of the recommendations from last year’s Third Party Review of mine tailings arrangements,” the statement continues.
The recently-issued effluent discharge permit has allowed the Imperial-owned Red Chris mine to start testing its mill that will extract gold and copper from the site located several hundred kilometres northeast of Terrace.
The Tahltan chose a Vancouver consulting company to perform a review of the tailings facility after the Mount Polley mine accident in August at another Imperial Metals mine in the Cariboo region.
The third party review from October 2014 noted loose glacial deposits under the tailings facility that needed to be studied to verify its stability.
A government review of the Mount Polley mine released earlier this month noted glacial till causing the breach of that tailings facility wall.
The recommendations called for the modifications of the tailing impoundment wall in one area as well as installing a drainage blanket however the mines ministry said last week that no major modifications had been made to the design.
“The 90-day permit does not allow any surface discharge of water or tailings, and no permanent permits will be authorized until we have confirmation that all measures required to protect Tahltan interests and the environment are in place,” says the Day statement.
The BC mines ministry also announced this week that they will be asking all mine operators in the province to provide information about the stability of underlying mineral composition on their sites.
The August contract with Imperial mentioned an Impact Benefit Agreement with the mining company that would be negotiated in the future but Day added that the Tahltan have no official agreements in place with the Red Chris Corporation.
“We have no agreements in place with the mine, although we continue discussions and are planning a series of meetings with our people from Feb. 17 onwards. We will also continue to work to keep our people up to date over the coming months,” the statement continued.