Can Imperial Pay for the Clean-up?

The EOreport looks at the $200 million cost of the Mount Polley disaster and asks, Can Imperial Pay for the Clean-up?

By Roy L Hales

Screen-shot-2014-03-18-at-3.43.47-PM1With the cost of the Mount Polley clean-up expected to exceed $200 million, some question whether Imperial Metals will be able to pay for it. The government only holds $14.5 million in financial security for the Mount Polley mine and Imperial Mines allegedly has a $15 million in “interruption of business” insurance.  Can Imperial Pay for the Clean-up?

A Ministry energy of Energy and Mines spokesperson said question of Imperial’s ability to pay should be directed to the company itself.

(Unfortunately, it is too late to catch the company’s media person and I will be gone for the next two days.)


“The province’s Environmental Management Act contains spill response provisions built on the Polluter Pay Principle,” she added. “The polluter pay principle ensures those who are responsible for spills are also responsible for cleaning them up and is designed to keep the cost of response off of taxpayers. The Spill Cost Recovery Regulation under the Environmental Management Act (EMA) outlines the process and parameters for recovering costs for responding to spills.”


“Any individual or company responsible for a hazardous material spill must pay for all reasonable costs associated with clean up, including any costs incurred by the province (such as equipment, contractors, staff time, etc). A cost recovery certificate approved by the Minister is a debt due to the government and, is recoverable, by action in the Supreme Court.”

Imperial Metals also owns the Red Chris mine which is expected to open in NorthWest BC next month. It is one of several mining projects upstream from Alaska and that state’s $1 billion fishing industry.

According to a US study, 28% of the copper mines in that nation  experienced a partial or full tailings dam failure.

Yet, according to a 2011 news release  by BC’s Auditor General, “Adequate monitoring and enforcement of certified projects is not occurring.”

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