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Mining company ordered to pay for untreated acidic wash water release

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On October 7, 2016, Nyrstar Myra Falls pleaded guilty, in B.C. Provincial Court, to two counts under the Fisheries Act, as well as to one count under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. As a result, they have been ordered to pay a fine of $185,000, of which $184,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

On September 5, 2014, Nyrstar Myra Falls Mine reported a spill of untreated acidic wash water into Myra Creek. Environment and Climate Change Canada said that testing of samples collected by its environmental enforcement officers confirmed that the wash water was deleterious to fish. Depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish is a violation of the Fisheries Act.

According to Nyrstar’s website, the Myra Falls mine is located in a provincial park in central Vancouver Island and has been in operation since 1966. It employs 58 people and produces concentrates of zinc, copper and lead, as well as silver and gold as byproducts.

As a result of the conviction, Nyrstar Myra Falls will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

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