Directives, Alerts & Incident Information
The Chief Inspector publishes directives, alerts, and information letters to communicate potentially hazardous issues related to mining activity in the province.
Mount Polley Tailings Dam Breach
On August 4, 2014, a breach occurred at the tailings storage facility (TSF) at the Mount Polley mine in south-central B.C., near the town of Likely. Shortly afterwards, three separate investigations into this incident were launched: An independent expert engineering panel was established to determine the root cause of the breach, the Chief Inspector of Mines conducted an investigation, and the British Columbia Conservation Officer Service is conducting an investigation. Both the expert panel and the Chief Inspector found that the Mount Polley tailings dam failed because the strength and location of a layer of clay underneath the dam was not taken into account in the design or in subsequent dam raises.
The Sullivan Incident
The Chief Inspector of Mines concluded that the tragic circumstances that led to four fatalities at a water sampling shed at the decommissioned Sullivan mine on May 15-17, 2006 were unprecedented and that the incident was caused by an oxygen-deficient atmosphere.