This August marks 5 years since Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mine disaster. To date, Imperial Metals has not been held accountable for causing 25 billion litres of toxic mining waste to flood into Hazeltine Creek, Quesnel Lake, and the Fraser River watershed. All within the territory of the Secwepemc First Nation, the area is one of the largest salmon spawning grounds in the world. Legal charges under Canada’s Fisheries Act remain a possibility until August 4, 2019. So what’s at stake here?
No charges, fines or penalties means Imperial Metals gains greater potential to expand their unsustainable mining operations. Within Clayoquot Sound, Imperial Metals holds the mining rights to access the development of a gold mine, called the Fandora project within the unceded territory of the Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations, as well as an open-pit copper mine on Catface Mountain in Ahousaht First Nation’s unceded territory. Both Nations are adamant that mining will not be allowed in their territories.
In the last year, Imperial Metals share price has doubled from $1.27 to $2.63, meaning that their mining operations are becoming more lucrative for investors. With no enforcement of environmental protection laws, Imperial Metals share price is being propped up by Indigenous Nations, taxpayers, and future generations. The shares are further inflated by Imperial Metals holding mining rights in Clayoquot Sound with no jurisdiction or consent.
Imperial Metals shareholders and executives have been held accountable at their Annual General Meeting (AGM) by Friends of Clayoquot Sound in solidarity with Indigenous land protectors from Secwepemc, Tla-o-qui-aht, and Ahousaht territories. For 2019, Imperial Metals moved their AGM online to avoid and remove their public accountability. Now, it’s time for the federal government to step up and charge Imperial Metals.