February 3, 2015 4:55 pm
Updated: February 3, 2015 7:15 pm

First Nations chiefs want all recommendations from Mount Polley report in place


WATCH: More reaction today to an independent report looking into what caused that catastrophic collapse of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley mine.  Today we’re finding out what First Nations leaders think of the findings. Jill Bennett reports. 

VANCOUVER – There is more reaction today to an independent report looking into what caused that catastrophic collapse of the tailings pond at the Mount Polley Mine.

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The report, released last Friday, blamed the breach on a design failure.

A number of First Nations leaders gathered in Vancouver to go over the report and came to the same conclusion; all recommendations need to be adopted immediately.

“We were very pleased with the recommendations, very grateful for the recommendations,” said Bev Sellars from the Soda Creek Band. “The recommendations are what First Nations and environmentalists have been saying so long, that the mining industry and resource industry as well, needs to change.”

“So we’re very grateful for the recommendations from the panel. The First Nations want to ensure that all the recommendations are implemented, not just some of them, the panel took a great deal of time and effort in making these recommendations and I think they’re solid recommendations that have to be implemented.”

The leaders also said they would not be supporting any future mine site or development if it did not meet the new requirements and if the province could not assure them a disaster like this would not happen again.

WATCH: More reaction to the Mount Polley report

Last Friday the panel made seven recommendations and three actions in response to these recommendations were announced by Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett.

There are currently 98 permitted tailings storage facilities in the province with 123 dams at 60 metal and coal mines in B.C.

All operating mines with tailings storage facility dams will now have to provide a letter to the ministry by June 30, 2015 to confirm whether the foundation materials similar to those at Mount Polley exist below any of their dams.

There is also a new requirement that all operating mines with tailings storage facilities establish independent tailings pond review boards.

Finally, there will be a code review to determine how to best implement the panel’s remaining recommendations, including the adoption of best available practices and technologies.

It’s something that we need to do and will do, says Bennett. There should be zero failures of this nature. This obviously was an unprecedented disastrous event that we must do everything we can to ensure it does not happen again.

– With files from Yuliya Talmazan and The Canadian Press

© 2015 Shaw Media

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