A mining company was just hit with the largest penalty ever imposed for environmental infractions in Canada.
On Dec. 19, 2014, Bloom Lake General Partner Ltd. was ordered to pay $7.5 million, after pleading guilty to 45 violations of the Fisheries Act, resulting from several incidents including the breach of a tailings pond dam and failure to comply with an Inspector’s Direction.
The breach of the Triangle Tailings Pond Dam allowed water, non‑compliant mining effluent and ferric sulfate to be released into the environment for almost seven days until it was repaired. More than 200,000 cubic meters of deleterious materials was released into fish-bearing waters.
Environment Canada’s investigation into the mine site in Fermont, QC uncovered other infractions which, over a period of four years, included major incidents such as the breach of the tailings pond dam and a separate release of 14,500 litres of ferric sulfate into water frequented by fish.
During the investigation, which lasted more than three years, information was found that indicated that on a number of occasions, the company didn’t report releases and failed to take samples and conduct analyses as required under the regulations. (See, Environmental Incident Reporting Checklist)
Of the $7.5 million, $6.83 million will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund, representing the largest ever financial contribution to the Fund. The Fund follows the Polluter Pays Principle to help ensure that those who cause environmental damage or harm to wildlife take responsibility for their actions by supporting projects that benefit the natural environment.