Snowfield fined $40K for abandoned N.W.T. mining camp

Vancouver-based Snowfield Developments has been fined $40,000 and ordered to pay about $212,908 to cover the cost of cleaning up its exploration camp 60 km from Yellowknife.

Recovery of fine or $210K in cleanup costs not likely from foundering firm

A company that left a mess at its diamond exploration camp near Yellowknife has been fined $40,000, and ordered to pay about $212,908 to cover the cost of cleaning up the site.

But recovery of the fine or clean-up cost from Vancouver-based Snowfield Developments is doubtful.

In a letter to the prosecutor, a Snowfield official said the company didn't even have enough money to travel to Yellowknife to argue its case. Its stock is no longer being traded and its shares are worthless.

When the company received its initial exploration permit 11 years ago, Snowfield posted a security deposit of $43,000.

It later applied to do more advanced exploration. The security deposit was to increase to $308,000, but Snowfield abandoned the review process and did some of the advance work anyway.

According to the prosecutor, when it ran out of money a few years ago the company simply walked away from its diamond exploration camp 60 kilometres southeast of Yellowknife near the shore of Drybones Bay on Great Slave Lake.

It left behind 45 fuel drums, camp buildings, equipment, appliances and vehicles.

Prosecutor Danielle Vaillancourt says, money or not, Snowfield is still legally responsible for the cleanup.

"When you're issued these types of land-use permits, you're under these obligations," she said. "The crown, the public and other companies would expect that people would abide by these rules or obligations and if they don't, there will be consequences."