Contents from the Mount Polley Mine tailings pond is pictured going down the Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake near the town of Likely, B.C. on August, 5, 2014. Imperial Metals announced Monday it will suspend operations at Mount Polley at the end of May 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

B.C.’s Mount Polley Mine to suspend operations due to sliding copper prices

Company said the suspension plan includes milling to end of May 2019

  • Jan. 7, 2019 4:43 p.m.

Imperial Metals announced Monday it will suspend operations at Mount Polley Mine near Likely at the end of May, 2019 due to falling copper prices.

The suspension will impact between 110 and 115 union employees, said Dan Will, business agent for United Steelworkers Local 1-2017. Many of those impacted workers live in Williams Lake and the surrounding area.

“It’s not good for the community, it’s not good for the workers, not good for anybody” said Will, who received the news via a phone call Monday from mine manager Dale Reimer.

“It was news to the union but we’ve known that the price of copper has been going down.”

Imperial Metals president Brian Kynoch said about 250 people will be impacted in total.

“About two thirds of our workforce is unionized and about a third aren’t,” he said Tuesday.

In a news release, Imperial Metals said the suspension plan includes milling of low grade stockpiles which is targeted to extend operations to the spring shutdown. There will be no impact to the mine’s ongoing environmental monitoring and remediation program in relation to the 2014 spill, the company confirmed.

“Full operations will resume once the economics of mining at Mount Polley improve.”

Read More: Disciplinary hearings announced regarding Mount Polley Mine breach

Read More: Mount Polley and USW reach agreement

During a public meeting held in Williams Lake in December, Lyn Anglin, vice president of environmental affairs said the on-going dredging of the Springer Pit, which was the temporary holding facility following the breach, continued to be delayed. She said they had hoped they would be able to use the Springer Pit to resume mining for new material.

Kynoch said while the inability to mine the Springer Pit for more material is a factor, it is the price of copper that drove the decision to suspend operations.

“If the price of copper had been over $3 we could have found a way to keep going but at less than $3 it doesn’t work,” he said. “We just couldn’t figure out a way that we could get through this year. It still has some good years left but it needs some capital to get to those years. There’s more ore but we need to move some stuff out before we can get to it.”

Reacting Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett said the suspension of operations will be devastating to workers, the community and families.

“This affects over a 1,000 people when you consider suppliers, truck drivers and schools, it will affect everybody in some way in business,” Barnett said. “It’s a sad thing when anything like this happens.”

While the price of copper is down, Barnett said business are struggling to survive added costs such as the new employer tax, carbon tax and income tax.

“Even the permitting process for permitting these days is an absolute nightmare,” Barnett added. “I’m just very concerned about the atmosphere out there for all resource industries in British Columbia.”

Mount Polley mine is located in south-central British Columbia, 56 kilometres northeast of Williams Lake.

The Mount Polley mine is owned and operated by Mount Polley Mining Corporation, a subsidiary of Imperial Metals.



news@wltribune.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

West Kelowna urges flood prep for residents

Warmer temperatures means melting snow, get supplies March 25

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce says federal budget missed opportunities

One area that was missed was tax competitveness

UBC Okanagan gets new softball team

The new team will be led by long-time softball coach Joni Frei

Burning season regulations to change in Central Okanagan

The Regional District of Central Okanagan reminds residents of restrictions

Kelowna Women’s Shelter Thrift Store broken into

Kelowna RCMP say that an undisclosed amount of cash and clothing was stolen

VIDEO: Sunny skies in the forecast makes for a great start to spring

Mostly sunny skies with a chance of rain by Friday evening in the Okanagan Valley

No cause yet for grassfire near Kamloops

Fire was about 1.8 hectares in size

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Case made for free tampon dispeners in schools

Advocate says access, anonymity key to providing less stressful experience for female students

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Most Read