Apr 08, 2004

Miramar Fined $90,000 for Cyanide-laced Water Spills

A Canadian judge has fined the owner of the Con gold mine $90,000 for allowing cyanide-contaminated water to seep into the environment.
Vancouver-based Miramar Mining Corp. pleaded guilty in January to two counts under the Northwest Territories Waters Act for the environmental violations in 2002 in Yellowknife.
Three other charges were withdrawn. In one case, Miramar reported itself for discharging contaminated water from its water treatment plant. In the other, the company allowed contaminated water to seep out of its Taylor Road dam.
Court heard the seepage occurred on a weekend when no one was staffing a lab where water samples are tested. Enough water was released to fill 80 swimming pools.
A federal inspector later found cyanide levels in samples from the plant exceeded the maximum allowable level.
A Crown prosecutor said there was no measurable effect on the environment, but acknowledged the spill could have been avoided if different procedures had been followed.
Judge Michel Bourassa said the company must show more care with dangerous chemicals.
Miramar now has staff available to do testing at any time.
In 1996, the company was fined $50,000 for releasing cyanide-contaminated water.