Canadian Consulting Engineer

News

Quebec mine breach nets largest fine ever


A mining company in Quebec has been given a $7.5-million penalty — the largest ever imposed on a mining company in Canada under the Fisheries Act and Mining Effluent Regulations.

Diane Saxe of Saxe Law office reports that Bloom Lake General Partner Limited pleaded guilty to charges that include the breach of a tailings pond dam, which released large amounts of water pollution into fish bearing water. The company, which is a subsidiary of Cliffs Natural Resources, pleaded guilty to a total of 45 charges.

Environment Canada was awarded the $7.5 million, of which more than $6 million will go the Environmental Damages Fund.

Environment Canada had begun investigating the Bloom Lake Mine site in 2011, but it eventually uncovered infractions over four years, including a major breach of the Triangle Tailings Pond Dam and a separate release of 14,500 litres of ferric sulfate into waters frequented by fish. The company failed to inform the department of the releases and failed to take samples or do analyses. The tailings were released for almost seven days, amounting to more than 200,000 cubic metres of pollution.

To read the article by Dianne Saxe, click here.