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Imperial to Delay Mine Start on Tribe Review After Spill

Imperial Metals Corp. agreed to refrain from starting its Red Chris mine in British Columbia until an aboriginal group has conducted an independent review of the project following a spill at its Mount Polley unit in the same Canadian province.

“This review will be funded by Imperial Metals,” David Haslam, a spokesman for the B.C. ministry of energy and mines, said in an e-mailed statement today. “This is separate from any other reviews government is considering with regards to the incident at Mount Polley or other tailings ponds.”

Imperial’s agreement with the Tahltan First Nation follows the Aug. 4 breach of a waste pond at the Mount Polley gold and copper mine that unleashed billions of gallons of water and ground-up rock into waterways near Likely, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Vancouver. Provincial investigators are working with the company to find out what caused the breach.

Imperial had planned to begin operating the C$631 million ($579 million) Red Chris mine in September, Steve Robertson, the company’s vice president of corporate affairs, said in an Aug. 9 interview at Mount Polley. Robertson didn’t immediately return a call today from Bloomberg for comment.

The agreement between Vancouver-based Imperial and the Tahltan was originally reported by Reuters.

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