Wabush Mines fined $30K for Fisheries Act violations

Wabush Mines ordered to pay a $30,000 penalty for two environmental violations at the company's Labrador mine in May 2015.

Mining company will be added to Environmental Offenders Registry

This is the view of the now-closed Wabush Mines from Labrador City. (John Gaudi/CBC)

Wabush Mines has been ordered to pay a $30,000 penalty for polluting the environment near the company's Labrador mine in May 2015, after pleading guilty to the charges Dec. 16 in Newfoundland and Labrador provincial court. 

Most of the court-ordered fine, $25,000, will go to the federal Environmental Damages Fund, and the company's name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Enforcement officers with the federal department of Environment and Climate Change investigated the mine, and laid two charges for violating the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations under the Fisheries Act. 

The company violated the act by failing to perform acute-lethality sampling (of effluent) and failing to notify an inspector when there was a deposit out of the normal course of events. 

Harmful levels of mining waste

In other words, Wabush Mines didn't test to determine if an amount of mining waste lethal to rainbow trout was released, and didn't tell an inspector when there was an unusual amount of deposit. 

In a press release Thursday, Environment and Climate Change Canada said its officers work to protect the environment by enforcing environmental laws, such as prohibiting the deposit of substances that will harm fish into their habitat. 

Wabush Mines will pay a $30,000 fine for environmental violations. (CBC)

The regulations limit the concentration of specific substances in effluent, or waste released into water from mining operations, and sets out measures to be taken if those concentrations are exceeded. The department said this is why regular testing and reporting is required under the regulations. 

The Environmental Damages Fund, which Wabush Mines is paying $25,000 to as part of its fine, was created in 1995 following the "polluter pays" principle to ensure that court-awarded penalties are used for projects that help the environment.