Canada’s Nuclear Watchdog Wants Safety Checks after Mine Breach in BCThe resource sector has had quite a wake up call in the weeks following the Mount Polley tailings pond breach in British Columbia.

As the BC government moves ahead with its investigation into the Imperial Metals (TSX:III) dam failure, other miners are feeling the effects. That’s because the government has also ordered independent third-party reviews of roughly 60 tailings ponds across the province.

But the train has not stopped there. The Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission (CNSC), the country’s nuclear watchdog, has also issued a “request for action” to licensees of uranium mines and mills with tailings facilities.

The CNSC is asking licensees to review the causes of the breach and confirm that the tailings dams at their individual facilities have valid safety cases, World Nuclear News notes. The CNSC has sent letters to seven companies operating uranium tailings ponds in Ontario and Saskatchewan. Areva (EPA:AREVA), Cameco (TSX:CCO,NYSE:CCJ), Denison Mines (TSX:DML), EWL Management, PJ Brugger and Associates, Rio Algom and Willet Green Miller Center have until September 15 to respond.

Clearly the fallout from Mount Polley has spread across the resource sector, providing regulatory bodies and companies with an uncomfortable reminder that constant vigilance and due diligence are necessary to keep business booming.

“The recent tailings dam breach that occurred at the Mount Polley mine in British Columbia on Aug. 4, 2014, has raised awareness of issues associated with tailings impoundments,” states the CNSC’s letter to the companies. “This is a reminder that vigilance must be maintained by ensuring that tailings dams continue to be properly designed, constructed, operated, maintained and monitored to prevent such occurrences.”

As one of the largest producers of uranium in the world, it’s no surprise that the drive to confirm that safety measures are in place is important.

 

Securities Disclosure: I, Vivien Diniz, hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article. 

Related reading: 

BC Calls for Independent Third-party Review of Tailings Ponds Across Province