For the second year in a row, significant numbers of adult Sockeye Salmon have been observed using the reconstructed habitat in the lower reaches of Hazeltine and Edney Creeks. Peak observations were made in mid September with over 800 salmon observed. In addition to the Sockeye, a record number of Kokanee and a few Interior Fraser River Coho have also been observed using the creeks.
In 2016 the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada designated the Coho species as Threatened and while they were not listed under the Canadian Species at Risk Act, additional protections were added under the Fisheries Act. Given the status of the species, the Coho observations in Hazeltine and Edney creeks are of particular significance and offers another example of success in remediation, and how careful planning and diligent implementation can result in rapid recovery and enhanced habitat opportunities.
An update from the Mount Polley Team
Mount Polley employees continue to take additional precautions to minimize the risks of COVID-19 transmission, however many workplace restrictions have been rescinded.
Mount Polley supports local communities whenever possible and in Q3 2022 we supported a fishing derby in the community of Likely. The derby was a public event held in July at Cedar Point Park on Quesnel Lake with over $3,600 in prizes awarded. The event featured local vendors and musicians who played into the night at the Likely Community Hall. The event raised $20,850 which was donated to the Likely and District Chamber of Commerce to be put toward building a new playground at the park.
Operations are in full swing at the mine. We are still recruiting talent for most departments and have not yet achieved full staffing levels, but we are getting closer to full scale operations and are now producing concentrate. Production levels increased month over month from July to September and that trend is anticipated to continue until we near full production. All the mills are now turning in the grinding bay with the last one scheduled to come online in October. Many more upgrades and refurbishments are planned to limit productive down time and improve efficiencies site wide.
Pit operations were continuous throughout Q3 with pit development going as planned. Pit run materials were hauled to the ore stockpiles, the crusher, the Southeast Rock Disposal Site (SERDS), the NAG-PAG Pad (NPP) and to construction projects around the mine. Pit development is occurring as planned for currently permitted mining activities and pit optimization analyses are ongoing to inform future mine plans.
Re-commissioning of the process plant continued through the 3rd quarter of 2022 with a focus on mechanical and electrical upgrades. Plant throughput continued to increase throughout the quarter. Recruitment for Operations and Technical staff has been ongoing. With over 50% of the mill operations workforce new to the industry, Supervisors and Trainers have been working diligently to provide training and guidance to create a safe and productive workplace.
Tailings Storage Facility
The Tailings Storage Facility will be lifted to store 2022-2023 mill production. The construction contract was awarded to Lake Excavating Ltd., a local Williams Lake company and joint business venture with Williams Lake First Nation.
No exploration work was conducted in Q3.
Current permitting activities underway in Q3 included the following:
For more information on our current permitting activities please contact us.
Environmental Monitoring Update
Recent and ongoing monitoring activities completed in Q3:
- Weekly Water Treatment Plant (WTP) water quality sampling including weekly/monthly/quarterly toxicity sampling
- Monthly water quality sampling at Hazeltine Creek
- Monthly & quarterly water quality sampling of surface & mine affected waters including groundwater and mine seepage
- Site wide flow monitoring
- Wildlife monitoring
- Specialized biological monitoring (benthic/invertebrate, tissue, periphyton, plankton etc.)
- Water quality sampling and monitoring of Springer, Cariboo and Wight pits
- Monthly & quarterly site inspections including waste management
- Reporting—monthly, quarterly, annually
- Comprehensive Environmental Monitoring Plan (CEMP) development/revision
Environmental monitoring is conducted in accordance with the Environmental Management Act (EMA) Permit 11678 and the ENV ministry approved CEMP requirements.
Water Treatment Plant (WTP) Performance Update
Operation of the Veolia Actiflo® water treatment plant was nearly continuous for the quarter. Total discharged volumes were at historic highs and reflect throughput optimization efforts. The higher than usual discharge volumes were possible due to the operation of a rental mobile water treatment plant (MWTP) in addition to the main plant. High quality influent (E19) sources from the Cariboo and Springer Pits and their associated in-pit treatments also enabled higher throughput in the treatment plants.
Minor improvements were made to the discharge pipeline as well. They included additional venting and regrading the right of way near the plant. These upgrades improve the flow characteristics to resolve capacity issues within the pipeline. Additional work may be conducted to improve pipeline capacity in the near future.
A comprehensive pipeline inspection was also conducted by a qualified professional as required by Environmental Management Act permit 11678.
The graph above shows total copper concentrations at the water treatment plant. HAD-3 represents effluent values and E19 represents influent values. The total copper concentration effluent permit limit of 0.033 mg/L and WTP numeric performance metric (NPM) of 0.012 mg/L is shown.
Hazeltine and Edney Creek Remediation
Environmental monitoring activities are ongoing in the remediated areas and planning is underway for the completion of the project.
Mine site reclamation planning is underway for 2023. Reclamation projects will focus on progressive reclamation research and build on past research conducted at the mine site. The following research projects are anticipated to be initiated/continued in the next calendar year:
- Water Management Strategies and Post-closure Maintenance and Contingency Requirements
- Species-specific Planting Trials
- Methods for Reducing High Competing Grass Cover
- Soil Replacement Plan
- Management for Invasive Plants
- Cumulative Effects of Fertilization and Biosolids Application
Progressive reclamation provides opportunity to further understand how end land use objectives will be achieved to leave behind self-sustaining ecosystems that support forest cover, wildlife habitat, hunting, trapping, guide outfitting, traditional Indigenous use, livestock grazing and recreation.
- Oct. 6, 2022: Public Liaison Committee Meeting and tour at the mine
- Oct. 24, 2022: Williams Lake First Nation Implementation Committee Meeting
BC Mine Information Page: https://mines.nrs.gov.bc.ca/
BC Ministry of Environment Natural Resource and Enforcement Database:
Interested applicants may send their resume and cover letter to:
For questions regarding the Community Update, please email Gabriel Holmes at email@example.com