Concerns raised over Myra Falls mine permit amendment application

Campbell River Environmental Committee drafts letter to ministry, citing Mount Polley

The Campbell River Environmental Committee has questions following the announcement that Nyrstar has applied for permit amendments as they approach re-opening Myra Falls Mine.

The Campbell River Environmental Committee (CREC) has a few questions for the Ministry of Mines, Energy and Petroleum Resources after it was announced earlier this week that Nyrstar has applied for a few permit amendments as they approach re-activation of their Myra Falls mine.

CREC would like to provide comment with respect to Nyrstar’s proposal to amend their permits Mines Act permit (M‐26), Environmental Management Act Air Permit (PA‐2408) and Environmental Management Act Effluent Permit (PE‐06858),” a letter from CREC to Lisa Payne, senior project lead for the ministry – who invited comment on the proposed amendments in a letter received by the city earlier this week – as well as to the Mirror, Minister of Mines Michelle Mungall, North Island MLA Claire Trevena and others.

“Given the Mount Polley disaster, any reassurance that there were lessons learned and actions taken to minimize environmental risk would be most welcome,” the letter reads.

Among CREC’s concerns are the proposed changes to the tailings disposal at the Lynx Tailings Disposal Facility, along with questions surrounding the “engineered design standard to a 200-year event,” saying that standard, “needs to be re-evaluated given climate change.”

“Current precipitation models are based upon data that predates current concerns surrounding climate change,” the letter reads. “This mine has recent experiences with unmanageable water flows …. It is time to over engineer critical environmental risk points such as expanded mining waste containments.”

The group also questions whether the current environmental bond from the mine being set at $70.8 million is “woefully inadequate should things go ‘south.’”

The city has invited the ministry to have at least one open public meeting in Campbell River to receive questions from the public about this application.

The entire permit amendment application is contained within the letter sent to city council, which can be found here (PDF).