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Support the Lower Similkameen Indian Band & Tell BC to assess the Copper Mountain Mine expansion

way̓ x̌ast sx̌lx̌ʕalt (good day) Friends,

A copper mine south of Princeton along Highway 3 wants to expand its tailings pond to almost three times as high as the Statue of Liberty — increasing its tailings pond capacity by 70 per cent. Because of loopholes in BC’s law, this expansion doesn’t even need to have an environmental assessment, but we can change that.

Canadian mining company Hudbay’s New Ingerbelle pit expansion would make the tailings dam at Copper Mountain the world’s second tallest. At 255 metres it would be four times bigger than the tailings pond at Mount Polley, the site of one of the worst environmental disasters in BC history in 2014. The BC government can require an environmental assessment for the expansion if it’s in the public interest — that’s where you come in.

Tell BC they must conduct an environmental assessment for this mine expansion

A breach at an expanded tailings dam could send a slurry of toxic sludge through the communities along the Similkameen River destroying towns, watersheds and ecosystems.

Even without a rupture, the expansion could more than double the mine’s permitted wastewater discharge into the Similkameen River, from 60 litres per second to 200 litres per second. The mine was fined in 2020 for exceeding current discharge limits and already has 31 non-compliance notices for failing to follow provincial laws.

Members of the Lower Similkameen Indian Band no longer eat fish from their river due to the current contamination levels. The Upper Similkameen Indian Band believe the expansion will impact their practice of culture, rights and title. Both the Upper and Lower Similkameen Indian Bands have requested the expansion receive an environmental assessment.

The mine was recently purchased by Hudbay Minerals Inc., a Canadian mining company under fire for human rights abuses at its mines abroad.

Despite the huge environmental impacts of the expansion, the impacts even a moderate dam failure could have and Hudbay’s track record, the BC government may not hold an environmental assessment.

Tell BC to hold an environmental assessment

BC has an obligation to protect the public and greenlighting this expansion without an environmental assessment is reckless and against the interests of the public, Indigenous rights, the climate and biodiversity in BC.

limlmt (thank you), Aboriginal Outfitters

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