By June 13, 2017 Read More →

Prairie Mines & Royalty to pay $4.42 million for Obed Mountain mine spill


Prairie Mines & Royalty Obed Mountain mine

Combined penalties of $4.42 million to both Federal and Provincial governments

On October 31, 2013, a dike that was holding back a large volume of waste water at  the Obed Mountain Mine near Hinton, Alberta failed, resulting in more than 670 million litres of contaminated water and sediment (made up of coal, clay and sand) spilling into the Apetowun Creek and Plante Creek and additionally impacting the Athabasca River, according to a press release from Government of Canada.

Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC (formerly known as Coal Valley Resources Inc.) pleaded guilty in Alberta Provincial Court to two counts of violating the Fisheries Act.

The Honourable Judge C.D. Gardner sentenced the company to pay monetary penalties totalling $3,500,000, with $1,150,000 of the sentence to be put into a trust to be managed by the University of Alberta to create the Alberta East Slopes Fish Habitat and Native Fish Recovery Research Fund. $2,150,000 will be directed to the Environmental Damages Fund.

In addition to the two counts of violation under the Fisheries Act, the company also pleaded guilty to one count under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.

They were fined $192,000 by Alberta Energy Regulator and a creative sentencing order to both pay $363,000 to fund a dam safety research project related to coal mine water storage, and pay $370,000 for an indigenous youth environmental education project.

This case is an example of a successfully coordinated multi-year joint investigation by Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Province of Alberta, according to the press release.

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Prairie Mines & Royalty ULC pleaded guilty to:

  • one count of carrying on a work, undertaking or activity that resulted in in the harmful alteration or disruption, or the destruction, of fish habitat in contravention of s.35(1) of the Fisheries Act; and,
  • one count of depositing or permitting the deposit of a deleterious substance of any type in water frequented by fish in contravention of s.36(3) of the Fisheries Act.
  • one count under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act

Posted in: Canada

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