The May 2016 release of a British Columbia Auditor General report titled “An Audit of Compliance and Enforcement in the Mining Sector” echoes what Rivers Without Borders has been saying for years. According to the Auditor General’s own press release, “We found almost every one of our expectations for a robust compliance and enforcement program … were not met.” The 109 page report should further spur Alaska – BC transboundary watershed interest and concern relative to proposed BC headwaters mining development, especially downstream, and the growing call for an International Joint Commission convening to address those concerns.
The BC audit points to the catastrophic Mount Polley tailings dam failure of summer 2014, and the ongoing acid mine drainage discharge related to the controversial Tulsequah Chief mine proposal, as notable examples of its findings.
The same week the Auditor General’s report came out, an item in the Juneau Empire solidified the audit’s findings with coverage of the Tulsequah Chief issue. “Tulsequah Chief mine owner descends further in financial hole” documents both the proponent company’s financial problems and permit compliance issues, which BC has to date failed to enforce. This was followed by an editorial in that same paper a few days later. Quoting the article, “Many Southeast Alaskans are wondering how many more years, or decades, it will take before this mining mess is cleaned up and given priority status.”
Both the Auditor’s report and the Juneau Empire piece are linked below.
RWB will continue doing all it can to highlight the connection between the abysmal oversight of Tulsequah Chief and regional watershed concerns now accentuated by the Auditor General.