When it seemed clear the newly minted B.C. NDP government would not pursue charges against Imperial Metals, owner and operator of the Mount Polley mine, for a 2014 tailings pond collapse, one woman decided to take matters into her own hands.
Bev Sellars, former chief of the Xat’sull (Soda Creek) First Nation — in whose territory the tailings pond released an estimated 25 million cubic metres of mining waste into Quesnel Lake — filed a private prosecution against Mount Polley on August 4, 2017, the final day charges could be laid.
Sellars made the case that Mount Polley has violated 15 rules under B.C.’s environmental and mining laws. She brought the private prosecution into play with the hope the province would take over the charges.
But this week B.C.’s Crown Prosecution Service quashed the case, saying there wasn’t enough evidence to proceed.