Yellow Giant mine on Banks Island

Banks Island miners face 18 pollution charges

Gold mine near Prince Rupert shut down last summer for permit violations, owners charged for failing to report spill

Two men and a mining company in receivership have been charged with 18 pollution infractions related to their shut-down gold mine on an island near Prince Rupert.

Benjamin Mossman and Dirk Meckert are scheduled to appear in Prince Rupert provincial court Sept. 7. Also charged is Banks Island Gold Ltd., which went into receivership after being shut down last year for provincial permit violations.

The Yellow Giant mine was ordered shut down by the Ministry of Environment in July 2015 after a tailings spill was reported on a tip. There is one charge of failing to report a spill of a polluting substance, and the other 17 charges are for failing to comply with permits.

North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice raised the issue in the legislature this spring, after receiving a letter from the Gitxaala First Nation referring to two separate tailings spills. Rice said the ministry did not inspect the operation for 15 months, until receiving a complaint.

NDP mining critic Norm Macdonald told the legislature a worker at the mine “became fed up, put his job on the line, sent the ministry and me a tip and pictures that documented what was going on there.”

Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said the mine was shut down when the situation was brought to its attention. The mine’s 90 employees lost their jobs.

The province has a $420,000 security bond from the mining company, to provide ongoing monitoring. In March the mines ministry and Banks Island Gold removed explosives from the mine site and in May ministry technical staff assessed the hazardous materials on site.

The B.C. Conservation Officer Service, which recommended the charges, would not comment on the current condition of the Banks Island site, because it is evidence for the prosecution.

 

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

Just Posted

Okanagan temperatures to be in the double digits all week

Kelowna’s forecast projects a high of 17 degrees on Thursday

Shuswap residents invited to show white heart in support of health-care workers

Emailed messages will be posted at Shuswap Lake General Hospital

Salmon Arm Silverbacks remember Humboldt Broncos on anniversary of fatal crash

Sixteen people killed, 13 injured after semi collided with team bus on April 6, 2018

Immunocompromised, at risk Shuswap residents keeping their distance

Family of young heart transplant recipient, asthma sufferer share how they’re coping

Salmon Arm beats Vernon in BCHL video final

Silverbacks to meet Cowichan Valley Capitals in league’s simulated video Fred Page Cup final

WATCH: Kelowna songwriters release health care workers video tribute

The couple recently asked for selfies from frontline workers to include in the music video

Van crashes into Kamloops home

Police say the driver went into medical distress before the crash

Kelowna RCMP seizes guns, illicit drugs following disturbance

RCMP seized three firearms and a variety of suspected illicit and prescription drugs

West Kelowna birthday parades cancelled, Easter drive-by egg hunt still on

West K Party Parades made the decision to keep community safe

Man who allegedly spit on Kelowna cop facing assault charges

‘Spitting on anyone is always a serious assault but to do so in this current pandemic is particularly unacceptable’

Giants Head Grind postponed

Uphill race in Summerland will not proceed due to COVID-19 pandemic

SASCU offers payment relief for customers impacted by COVID-19 crisis

Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union rolls out mortgage deferral options

UPDATE: UK PM Boris Johnson moved to intensive care after COVID-19 symptoms worse

He has been quarantined in his Downing St. residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26

Most Read