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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Gudangaay Tlaats’gaa Naay wins ‘Most Outstanding School’ award

B.C. School Sports will present school with banner, add GTN to plaque as winners of 2019-2020 year

‘A time of transition:’ CHN looking to release next steps of pandemic response this week

State of local emergency is in effect; Gaagwiis says CHN developing indicators to guide next steps

Skeena-Bulkley Valley MP Taylor Bachrach urges feds to compensate airline passengers

Letter to transport minister touches on Northwest B.C. tourism operators impacted by COVID-19

Two new bridges to be built along Highway 16 between Port Clements, Tlell

Ministry of Transportation says $5.4-million project expected to be complete in fall 2020

‘Now Is the Time’ doc will start streaming on National Indigenous Peoples Day

Film featuring Haida carver Robert Davidson will launch June 21 for free on NFB website

VIDEO: A Vancouver Island black bear takes weekend nap in eagle tree

Videos captured by Terry Eissfeldt shows the bear arriving Saturday night and sleeping in on Sunday

NDP getting COVID-19 wage subsidy ‘indirectly,’ B.C. Liberal leader says

B.C. NDP says Andrew Wilkinson is wrong about federal link

Parent, superintendent, trustee report smooth return to classrooms in B.C.

The biggest challenge is convincing families that it’s safe, some say

George Floyd asphyxiated by sustained pressure: family autopsy

Death sparked a wave of protests across the U.S. and abroad

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

COVID-19: B.C. commercial landlords can’t evict if they decline rent assistance

Emergency order ‘incentive’ for federal program, Carole James says

Investigators probe death of CN employee at Surrey rail yard

Transportation Safety Board is investigating an ‘occurrence that took place during switching operations’

Trans Mountain starts B.C. leg of pipeline twinning project

Mostly finished in Alberta, Burnaby terminal expanding

Most Read