A map highlighting areas where a 'significant tailings and/or sediment and effluent remain' on Banks Island.

Shutdown order issued for Banks Island Gold after tailings, effluent found in the environment

The Ministry of Environment has issued a shutdown order for Banks Island Gold after effluent and tailings entered the environment.

The Ministry of Environment has issued a shutdown order for Banks Island Gold after effluent and tailings were allowed to enter the environment over the course of several months.

The Ministry notes there was an unauthorized discharge of effluent into the environment in March, 2015, and an unauthorized discharge of tailings into the environment on June 24. Following a complaint received on July 6, staff from the Ministry of Environment, Environmental Protection Division (Ministry), Conservation Officer Service, Environment Canada, and Ministry of Energy

and Mines visited the site on July 9 when it was determined Banks Island Gold was in violation of the Environmental Management Act and its waste discharge permit.

“Based on observations made by Ministry staff who attended the site on July 9, 2015, I believe that pollution is occurring. Unauthorized discharges were observed and a significant amount of tailings and/or sediment material and effluent remains present in the environment,” wrote Cassandra Caunce of the Ministry of Environment in a pollution abatement order dated July 10, which listed six locations where pollution remains a concern.

The pollution abatement order outlined a number of requirements for the company to complete in the coming months — including creating a detailed action plan to address the situation, continuing sampling at the site and immediately commence cleanup — but a followup inspection on July 15 resulted in a shutdown order being issue.

“Ministry staff continue to monitor the situation and ensure the company complies with the Pollution Abatement Order,” read a statement from the Ministry of Environment.

The site, which is called the Yellow Giant Gold Project, began commercial production in January.

A representative from Banks Island Gold Inc. did not immediately return a request for comment from the Northern View.

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