First Nation says B.C. government failed to monitor mine as pollutants leaked into the wetland and waterways
A B.C. mining company, along with its CEO and chief geologist, are facing charges for allegedly releasing waste material into woods, wetland, and water on a Hecate Strait island.
They have been charged with 18 offences for allegedly violating the province’s Environmental Management Act, including failure to report a spill of a polluting substance and repeatedly failing to comply with environmental permits.
Banks Island Gold Ltd., president and CEO Benjamin Mossman and chief geologist Dirk Meckert have not yet appeared in court. They will make their first appearance in Prince Rupert on Sept. 7. According to the Gitxaala First Nation, the company has left behind environmental damage that has people worried about the safety of their food and fish.
‘Wild west mentality’
Banks Island Gold began operating the Yellow Giant gold mine, approximately 110 kilometers south of Prince Rupert, in January 2015.
When the company was given permission to operate, Mines Minister Bill Bennett touted the company as a key contributor to the province’s resource economy. Behind the scenes, however, concerns were already being raised.
“They kind of operated under this wild west mentality, where they were out on an island, and they were isolated, and they kind of did things accordingly,” said James Witzke, assessment manager of the Gitxaala Environmental Monitoring Office.
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