APEGBC appreciates the release by the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines of the report from the independent inquiry into the Mount Polley tailings pond breach.

The panel concluded that evidence indicates the breach was the result of a failure in the foundation of the embankment, a failure that occurred in a glaciolacustrine (GLU) layer of the embankment’s foundation.

As the public safety regulator for engineering and geoscience in BC, our foremost concern is for the safety and welfare of British Columbians. The report is an important step towards understanding the cause of the incident and addressing the work that needs to take place to improve the safety of dams in British Columbia.

The panel made seven recommendations that related to using best available technology, enhancing regulatory, operational and corporate best practices, and strengthening professional practice and professional guidelines.

The recommendation addressing professional practice states: “Encourage the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of BC (APEGBC) to develop guidelines that would lead to improved site characteristics for tailings dams with respect to the geological, geomorphological, hydrogeological, and possible seismotectonic characteristics.”

The Province also released the inspections and third-party reviews of tailings storage facilities at other permitted mines in British Columbia, ordered by the Chief Inspector of Mines following the failure at Mount Polley. The inspections and reviews have not identified any immediate safety concerns and are available online.

Source: APEGBC - see full article