Hope Bay, Orbit Garant make reparations for spill charges

Two mining companies charged under the Fisheries Act for a 2011 spill near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut are resolving the charges by publicly apologizing, holding a public meeting to explain what happened, and donating $150,000 to an environmental damages fund.

Two mining companies charged under the Fisheries Act for an incident at a mining project near Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, have entered into a diversion agreement with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

The incident occurred in the spring of 2011 during work at a exploratory drilling site operated by Orbit Garant Ltd. for Hope Bay Mining Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Newmont Mining Corp.

An Environment Canada inspection found drill cuttings, drilling mud and brine drilling fluid was discharged.

The exact cause of the spill is unknown, but the fluid flowed to the shores of Aimaoktak Lake, also called Spyder Lake, outside of Cambridge Bay.

Experts say there was no impact on fish health or habitat in the area.

In 2013, both companies were charged with unlawfully discharging the brine too close to the shoreline and with failing to report the incident.

Now, they’re resolving the issue through an alternative measures program.

Orbit Garant and Hope Bay Mining have apologized through a notice published in local newspapers.

They also plan to hold a public meeting in Cambridge Bay on June 11, where the companies and Environment Canada will explain what happened and what steps have been taken to prevent any further incidents.

The companies will contribute $150,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund, with directions that the money be used in the Kitikmeot region.

Once the agreement terms have been met, the charges will be withdrawn.

The matter will next appear in court in Iqaluit on July 14.

The Hope Bay project is now owned by Toronto-based TMAC Resources, which acquired the project from Hope Bay Mining Ltd. in 2013.