Court shelves group’s private prosecution of Mount Polley mine collapse

Court shelves private Mount Polley mine case

WILLIAMS LAKE, B.C. — An advocacy group says a British Columbia provincial court has shelved a bid to have charges laid for environmental damage caused by a mining disaster in British Columbia’s Interior.

MiningWatch Canada says its private prosecution against both the province and Mount Polley Mining Corp. for alleged violations of the Fisheries Act has been stayed.

The group launched the case last fall against the government and the company that owns a copper and gold mine where a tailings pond collapsed in August 2014, sending 25-million cubic metres of wastewater gushing into streams and waterways.

The allegations have not been proven in court and in January, Crown lawyer Alexander Clarkson argued there is no chance of a conviction in the case.

Clarkson said the private prosecution is not in the public interest because the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are already investigating.

MiningWatch Canada says in a release that it plans to pressure the federal government to lay its own charges in the case.

The Canadian Press