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Federal Crown vying to stop private prosecution in B.C. dam collapse case

Federal Crown says private prosecution should stop

VANCOUVER — The federal government is moving to stay an advocacy group's private prosecution against the B.C. government and a mining company over the collapse of the Mount Polley tailings dam.

Crown lawyer Alexander Clarkson says there is no prospect of conviction against either the Mount Polley Mining Corp. or the province in the legal action launched last fall by MiningWatch Canada.

Clarkson says in a statement that the private prosecution is not in the public interest because the BC Conservation Officer Service, Environment Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are already investigating the collapse of the tailings pond.

He says those investigations should be allowed to continue so the findings can be considered for the charge approval process in a case involving the Mount Polley gold and copper mine, which is owned by Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX:III).

MiningWatch Canada alleges the province and the Mount Polley Mining Corp. violated the Fisheries Act, which prohibits serious harm to fish and forbids the deposit of deleterious substances into fish-bearing waters.

None of the allegations have been proven in court regarding the failure of a dam at the mine in August 2014, when 25 million cubic metres of wastewater and mine waste gushed into nearby waterways in B.C.'s Interior.


The Canadian Press