British Columbia

Mount Polley engineers headed for disciplinary hearings

Engineers and Geoscientists B.C. is alleging negligence or unprofessional conduct by three engineers involved in the 2014 tailings pond disaster at the gold and copper mine.

Engineers and Geoscientists B.C. alleging negligence on part of 3 engineers in 2014 mine disaster

Contents from a tailings pond is pictured moving from Hazeltine Creek into Quesnel Lake near the town of Likely, B.C. a day after the mine collapse in August 2014. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

B.C'.s professional association of engineers says it will hold disciplinary hearings next year for three engineers related to the Mount Polley tailings dam collapse.

Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia is alleging negligence or unprofessional conduct by Laura Fidel, Stephen Rice and Todd Martin in the course of their professional activities

They were involved in the design, construction and monitoring of the tailings storage facility at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine.

The tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., released 10 billion litres of water and 4.5 million cubic metres of metals-laden sand, contaminating lakes, creeks and rivers in the region. (Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press)

It was the site of one of the largest spills in the province's history when the dam collapsed in August 2014, sending 24 million cubic metres of mine waste and sludge into nearby waterways.

Max Logan of Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia says it took the unusual step of initiating an investigation without first receiving a complaint, which the regulatory body has the authority to do.

Investigators combed through 13,000 documents over four years as part of the lengthy probe.

The allegations have not been heard by a disciplinary panel and are unproven. 

If the allegations are proven, the engineers could face up to $25,000 in fines and lose their licences to practice professional engineering or geoscience in British Columbia.

The Mount Polley copper and gold mine is located in the Cariboo region of B.C. (The Canadian Press)

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