The first disciplinary hearing for an engineer in relation to the Mount Polley Mine August 2014 tailings breach begins on Monday, June 15. Here is view looking toward Hazeltine Creek on Sept. 2, 2019. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

The first disciplinary hearing for an engineer in relation to the Mount Polley Mine August 2014 tailings breach begins on Monday, June 15. Here is view looking toward Hazeltine Creek on Sept. 2, 2019. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

First of three disciplinary hearings for Mount Polley Mine breach begins June 15

Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia said hearings will be held via Zoom

The first of three disciplinary hearings related to the Mount Polley Mine tailings storage facility breach in August 2014 gets underway next week in B.C.

“Our first hearing is for Stephen Rice, and will begin on June 15, 2020,” noted Megan Archibald, director of communications and stakeholder engagement for the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of the Province of British Columbia.

Archibald confirmed Rice’s hearing is open to the public and will be conducted via Zoom from June 15 to 19 and June 22 to 26, 2020.

When the tailings impoundment breached at the copper gold mine, 25 million cubic metres of tailings and water was released into nearby Hazeltine Creek, Polley Lake and Quesnel Lake.

The disciplinary hearings were first announced in September 2018 after a lengthy, independent investigation conducted by Engineers and Geoscientists BC.

Read more: Disciplinary hearings announced regarding Mount Polley Mine breach

At the time, the regulator’s investigation committee alleged that three individuals involved in the design, construction, and monitoring of the tailings storage facility demonstrated negligence and, or unprofessional conduct in the course of their professional activities.

The investigation was led by a three-person subcommittee of senior professionals from Engineers and Geoscientists BC’s Investigation Committee.

During the course of its investigation, the subcommittee received more than 13,000 documents for review, including contracts, reports, correspondence, and daily site reports.

Engineer Laurel Fidel’s hearing is scheduled for July 6 to 10, July 13 to 17, 2020 and engingeer Todd Martin’s for Aug. 24 to 28, Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 2020.

Notices of inquiry contain unproven allegations against an engineer or geoscientist that will be considered at a discipline hearing to determine the validity of the allegations.

Mount Polley Mine has been closed since May 2019, citing low copper prices.

Read more: Mount Polley Mine tailings impoundment was on the brink of failure


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