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Media wrong about B.C. mine “shutdown,” says Banks Island Gold

by Greg Klein | July 28, 2015

Update: On August 4 Banks Island announced mining had been suspended four days earlier and Yellow Giant would go on care and maintenance “until permitting and regulatory issues at the project are resolved and the company has sufficient working capital to re-commence operations.”

 

It might be one of those cases in which journalists doggedly stick to an inaccurate story. But the company could have been more responsive to interview requests.

Media wrong about B.C. mine “shutdown,” says Banks Island Gold

Banks says it’s one of the world’s few companies that successfully operates a dense media separation plant to pre-concentrate primary gold ore. Although some mining continues at Yellow Giant, plant operations have been suspended, the company states.

Late July 28 Banks Island Gold TSXV:BOZ denied recent media reports that its Yellow Giant mine has been closed. Production continues at the small-scale northwestern British Columbia operation, the company stated, although on a reduced basis.

According to a July 24 press release from Banks, the provincial Ministry of Environment slapped the underground gold mine with a pollution abatement order on July 10 following a spill that the company reported as “estimated at 240 cubic metres of water containing a total of one tonne of solids.” On July 16 B.C.’s Ministry of Mines issued a stop order on the mine’s plant “until a revised sediment control plan, water management plan and tailings management plan was provided to the chief inspector,” the company added. Banks said it provided the info by July 20.

But limited production continues by “crushing and bagging high-grade pyrrhotite derived from selective mining in development of the third level of the Discovery zone,” Banks stated on July 24.

The first “shutdown” media report might have been a July 23 Northern View story. The article actually referred not to a shutdown but to a “shutdown order.” The publication didn’t specify what the order referred to. By July 27 news outlets including the Vancouver Sun and Victoria Times Colonist were reporting that “the province has shut down” Yellow Giant.

The Sun repeated the claim the following day when it stated the mine “was shut down earlier this month by the B.C. Energy and Mining Ministry [sic] following an order by the B.C. Ministry of Environment to stop polluting.”

The Sun also stated, “The company will have to come up with a plan acceptable to the province before they [sic] can reopen, said [B.C.’s chief inspector of mines Al] Hoffman.”

But references to a shutdown are “incorrect,” Banks emphatically stated a few hours later. “The company is continuing processing of Tel [zone] mineralization but production has been significantly impacted by the events previous [sic] disclosed in our news releases.”

So if activities at Discovery and Tel constitute mining, those media reports are wrong. The Sun’s July 28 story, however, did say the company “has not responded to the Vancouver Sun’s requests for interviews this week.”

Nor did Northern View hear from Banks in time for its July 23 article, which stated a company rep “did not immediately return a request for comment.”

The July 27 article quoted an environment ministry spokesperson stating that there’s “no reason to believe that there would be any risk to humans or animals” from the spill.

The Sun has also reported that Environment Canada has begun an investigation into possible violations of the federal Fisheries Act and the Gitxaala Nation plans to launch legal action against the company and the province “to ensure environmental damage caused by the spill is cleaned up.”

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