Uranium mines to study Mt. Polley
Ramzi Jammal, chief regulatory operations officer. (FILE PHOTO/QMI AGENCY)
Concerns over the integrity of tailings dams since the Mount Polley breach earlier this month have made their way across Canada to the regulator of Canadian uranium mines and mills.
In a request sent out this week to seven Canadian licensees, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission is asking the companies to review the Mount Polley tailings dam breach for its cause and to “confirm that the safety case for the tailings dam at your facility remains valid.”
The companies are also asked to demonstrate inspection and monitoring compliance, confirm that mitigation measures are in place in case of a breach, and report on any shortcomings.
“The recent tailings dam breach that occurred at the Mount Polley mine in British Columbia on Aug. 4, 2014 has raised awareness of issues associated with tailings impoundments,” said Ramzi Jammal, chief regulatory operations officer, in the letter.
“This is a reminder that vigilance must be maintained by ensuring that tailings dams continue to be properly designed, constructed, operated, maintained and monitored to prevent such occurrences.”
Jammal added upcoming inspections at tailings facilities will verify safety measures are in place and adequate.
According to the Association of Mineral Exploration B.C., the province has 196 “known mineral occurrences of uranium” but that type of mine has never been operated here, and there is currently a government-imposed moratorium on exploration, mining and development of the ore.