Two years after a mine tailings containment pond gave way at the Obed Mountain complex in Alberta, Canada, the mine’s owner has been charged in the incident. The Alberta Energy Regulator (AER) confirmed recently that six charges have been filed against Coal Valley Resources (CVRI) and Sherritt International, doing business as Sherritt Coal, related to the 670,000 m3 spill on October 31, 2013.
The release sent water, minerals, flocculent and a small amount of unrecovered coal into two Athabasca River tributaries. According to the AER’s filing, the charges are for contraventions of the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA), the Public Lands Act (PLA) and the Water Act. The first appearance in the case is set for January 20, 2016, in Hinton Provincial Court.
In a statement, Sherritt said the charges are being reviewed. “Sherritt has worked with provincial and federal regulatory authorities throughout the investigation to ensure all requirements set forth by the environmental protection order issued by Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development in November 2013 have been met,” officials said. “Sherritt and CVRI have met all requirements set forth by the EPO, including remediation, sampling and testing; results…are posted on a weekly and monthly basis on the Obed website. Sherritt is committed to understanding the circumstances that contributed to the release and working with regulators to take the necessary steps to prevent any recurrence.”