Mine sediments flow toward a lake from the Yellow Giant Gold Mine on Banks Island. This photo was taken in June 2015 by former mine safety manager Brent Edmunds. (Submitted photo)

Court assesses $15,000 penalty in Banks Island Mine case

Gitxaała Nation calls the ruling a slap in the face

Leadership with the Gitxaała Nation are not happy with the latest developments in the Banks Island Gold. Ltd case.

On Dec. 6, 2018, the mining company’s CEO, Benjamin Mossman, was given a $15,000 penalty after being found guilty of one Fisheries Act violation and one Environmental Management Act violation.

READ MORE: More witnesses testify on Bank Island environmental mess

Clifford White, chief of Gitxaała Nation, said he was disappointed with the small penalty, calling it a “slap in the face” considering the scope of environmental damage allegedly caused by the mining company.

“The communities are left to deal with the after effects of the damages,” White said. “This is why people get upset when a business comes in and there’s damage done to the environment. This is case and point.”

The company faced 35 total provincial and federal charges after Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers found evidence that the company was dumping waste from its Yellow Giant gold mine into the surrounding woods and wetland area approximately 110 kilometres south of Prince Rupert in 2015.

Further, Mossman did not report the spills to any regulatory body or fisheries officer.

The mine was shut down in 2015 and the Ministry of Energy and Mines confiscated the company’s $420,000 security deposit to clean the polluted site.

But White estimated the total cost of the cleanup is will be approximately $1.6 million.

“$15,000 is crumbs in comparison to what needs to be done,” he said. “Who’s going to cover the rest of the money?”

In an emailed statement, Gitxaała Environmental Monitoring (GEM) environmental assessment coordinator Samantha Wagner said that the GEM office will be closely following the sentence’s appeal.

Neither Mossman nor Banks Island Gold Ltd. representatives could be reached for comment by deadline.

READ MORE: Witnesses testify in court on Banks Island Mine disaster

To report a typo, email: editor@thenorthernview.com.


Matthew Allen | Reporter
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