EAO Requires Tailings Management Options

Posted by Stop Ajax Mine on March 27th, 2015 5:23am

The Environmental Assessment Office issued a letter on March 19 to all mining proponents regarding the additional information requirements for mines with proposed new tailings storage facilities, as part of its implementation of the Mount Polley Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Report recommendations.

Developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the Ministry of Environment, the additional information requirements will apply to mines in all stages of environmental assessment, and have been outlined in writing for each company and posted on the Environmental Assessment Office’s website.

The required information will ensure that companies proposing to build mines with new tailings dams have:

    In addition to the selected option for tailings management, considered other options that can address the potential for adverse effects on environmental, health, social, heritage and economic values;
    For the option selected, considered the potential risks and implications of that option and have a technically and economically feasible plan to address them; and
    Provided a clear and transparent rationale to support the selected option.

Companies will need to provide the following information:

    A description and assessment of alternative means of undertaking the proposed project with respect to options for tailings management that consider technology, siting and water-balance management;
    Presenting and comparing best practices and best-available technologies for tailings management;
    Options for managing water balance to enhance safety and reduce the risk of a tailings dam failure;
    A comparison of technically and economically viable engineering solutions to address site conditions; and
    A clear and transparent evaluation of the factors that supported the selection of the most-suitable option.

The Environmental Assessment Office will use the information to evaluate tailings management options and to determine whether the plans and strategies presented by mining companies adequately address any potential risks or implications. 

In a letter dated March 19, Doug Caul, Associate Deputy Minister of the Environmental Assessment Office, wrote to Marcin Mostowy, Chief Executive Officer of KGHM Ajax Mining Inc. :

“...I recognize that this will require proponents to undertake additional assessments and may be more work than you had expected for the EA. It is important that EAs allow for sufficient time for the Report findings and recommendations to be adequately addressed at an EA level, and that this should be considered for all proposed mines with new tailings dams going forward...”

(The full letter is posted on the EAO website under Ajax Mine Project - Pre-Application EAO Generated Documents)


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