A B.C. mining and mineral development company has been convicted of two environmental management act violations in the BC Interior.
The conviction against Teck Metals Ltd. comes following an investigation by the Conservation Officer Service’s Major Investigations Unit. The investigation looked into the unlawful discharge of zinc and caustic waste into the environment.
The unlawful discharge occurred on December 22nd, 2013 and January 28th, 2014 near Trail. Teck Metals was found guilty of violating the act and ordered to pay a fine for $5,000 for each of the two counts. The decision was handed down in Rossland Provincial Court and Teck Metals was also ordered to pay an additional $390,000 to the Habitat Conservation Trust Foundation. The funding will go towards the conservation or enhancement of biological diversity, and fish or wild habitat in the Kootenay or Columbia River watersheds.
“Environmental protection is something we take very seriously in B.C., as the penalty levied against Teck Metals Ltd. shows. We operate on a polluter pay principle, to ensure those responsible for spills are also responsible for cleaning them up,” said the Conservation Officer Service in a statement.
In addition to the fine, the company has also been ordered to pay a $3,000,000 penalty after pleading guilty to three offences under the Fisheries Act related to the release of effluent in the Columbia River.
In addition to the penalty, Teck Metals agreed to undertake on-site improvement projects. The company estimates that these projects, which are intended to prevent future incidents, will cost the company $50,000,000 to implement.
These offences were investigated by the federal government after 125 million litres of effluent was discharged into the Columbia River between November 28th and February 5th, 2015. The $3,000,000 penalty will also be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund (EDF) for fish habitat and fisheries restoration projects in the Kootenay River or Columbia River watersheds.