August 10, 2014 1:56 pm

Engineering company that designed Mount Polley tailings pond issues a statement

The engineering company that originally designed the Mount Polley tailings pond that breached almost a week ago sending millions of cubic meters of waste water into local lakes and rivers issued a statement saying it warned Mount Polley Mining Corporation and B.C. government about potential risks that can arise in the future.

The Engineer of Record for the Mount Polley Mine has issued a statement highlighting a letter written to Mount Polley Mining Corporation  in 2011 when Knight Piesold parted ways with the project.

The letter states:

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The embankments and the overall tailings impoundment are getting large and it is extremely important that they be monitored, constructed and operated properly to prevent problems in the future.

The letter also said that Knight Piesold would no longer have any responsibility for the performance of the tailings storage facility.

The company says the original engineering accommodated a significantly lower water volume than the tailings storage facility reportedly held at the time of the breach.

“Significant engineering and design changes were made subsequent to our involvement,” says the company in a statement.

In a phone interview to Global News, Vice President Corporate Affairs at Imperial Metals Steve Robertson said he does not think the report was damning.

“It’s the type of thing that they would send to both the government and the company just as part of their normal course,” says Robertson.

But concerns have also been raised by a former mine worker of seven years.

Gerald MacBurney claims he was responsible for the tailings pond and quit his job in June over stress and confrontation with management.

Read the full statement and letter.

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