Imperial Metals’ Red Chris copper-gold mine in northwestern B.C. won’t be allowed to open until an independent review of the company’s construction work on the new project has been completed, Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said Wednesday.
Bennett visited Iskut Wednesday, where some members of the Tahltan Nation have been blocking the road to the Red Chris mine.
The Klabona Keepers, a group of Tahltan elders pledged to protect the headwaters of the Nass, Skeena and Stikine Rivers, blocked the road Aug. 8 after the Aug. 4 tailings pond breach at Imperial’s Mount Polley mine near Williams Lake.
The blockade has stopped workers, some of whom are Tahltan members, from completing work on the mine.
Bennett said Imperial has agreed to pay for an independent evaluation of Red Chris. The mine project includes an extension of BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line, which went was officially completed this week.
Bennett is preparing to announce a broad review of mine safety as early as this week. Mine inspectors continue to work at the Mount Polley site to stabilize the breached mine tailings pond and determine why it failed.