RISK NEEDS A PRICE
Re It’s Time To Put A Price On The Risk Of Mining Disasters (Aug. 3): We’ve marked the fourth anniversary since the Mount Polley mining disaster in B.C. released 25 billion litres of toxic tailings into Polley Lake, Hazeltine Creek, and the once-pristine Quesnel Lake. To date, there has been no justice – no fines, no penalties, no compensation for communities.
Ecofiscal does well to bring attention to the need for financial assurances in mining for both reclamation (where B.C. falls more than $1-billion short) and to fund potential disasters (an industry pooled fund to protect in case a company goes bankrupt). This disaster fund also needs to address community compensation (loss of fishing, loss of drinking water, reduced land/water access etc.) in a way that is accessible. The author suggests Imperial Metals has paid for clean-up costs to date. Given B.C.’s tax regime, the company was able to get tax breaks for its post disaster efforts, leaving the public picking up some 35 cents of each dollar spent (more than $23million as of 2016).
It is time that a price is put on the risk of mining disasters before another watershed and community pays the price for weak laws and enforcement.
Chair, First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining; elected Councillor, Xeni Gwet’in First Nation Tsilqot’in Title Lands