Following guilty pleas, two Quebec companies are facing fines for violations of federal environmental rules.
Seleine Mines, a division of K+S Windsor Salt Ltd., is located in the Magdalen Islands and is the only salt mine in Quebec. Its production is typically aimed at deicing. The mine’s deposit was discovered in 1972.
The company was fined a total of $400,000 after pleading guilty to four counts of violating subsection 125(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999.
In the case of Seleine Mines, Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers determined that the mining company had disposed of dredged material on four occasions during August 2014. The disposal occurred outside of the disposal area authorized by the company’s disposal at sea permit, which allows disposal of non-hazardous substances into the sea.
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Recently in the U.S., a four-year long audit by the Labor Department said its analysis of Mine Safety and Health Administration accident and violations data “showed no correlation between penalties paid and the safety of mine operations.”
Later, on September 1, Montreal-based holding company known as 4422236 Canada Inc. was fined $260,000 after pleading guilty to two counts of violating the PCB Regulations and the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999, officials reported.
An investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers determined that, in September 2018, the holding company was using a building transformer containing polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at a concentration greater than 500 ppm. PCBs, which are toxic in nature, have often been used as refrigerants and lubricants for certain types of electrical devices like transformers and capacitors.
The investigation also found that, as of June 2019, the numbered company had not complied with the environmental protection compliance order issued by an enforcement officer in November 2018, requiring it to dispose of the transformer.
As a result of these convictions, both companies will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.
The fines will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund and used to support environmental and conservation projects, often carried out in the community where the offence occurred.