Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavut June 18, 2014 - 8:16 am

Crown withdraws charges after firms make amends for Nunavut mine spill

Orbit Garant Drilling, Hope Bay Mining faced Fisheries Act charges

DAVID MURPHY

Orbit Garant Drilling Inc. and Hope Bay Mining Ltd. have made sufficient amends for their 2011 discharge of potentially toxic liquids from a Kitikmeot gold mine, which means Fisheries Act charges against them have now been withdrawn.

Charges had been laid following an investigation by Environment Canada into a spill that occurred in July 2011 on the shoreline of Spyder Lake, about 170 kilometres southwest of Cambridge Bay.

One charge included unlawfully depositing drilling fluid onto the shoreline of Spyder Lake — also known as Aimaoktak Lake — which is located on Inuit-owned land and is home to several fish species.

The companies were also charged with failing to report the discharge to an inspector or to the Nunavut Spill Line.

Lawyers for the two companies, Environment Canada, and Crown prosecutors came up with an alternate measures agreement that diverted the case away from court.

Under the diversion agreement, Hope Bay and Orbit Garant were ordered to hold a community meeting in Cambridge Bay June 11 to make an apology.

Other remedies in the agreement included paying a total of $150,000 to a special fund administered by Environment Canada called the Environment Damages Fund.

The fund then makes money available for remediation projects, which, in this case, must benefit the Kitikmeot region.

The companies also had to advertise the fluid discharge mishap in local newspapers, including the May 23 edition of Nunatsiaq News.

Crown prosecutor Paul Bychok told Justice Neil Sharkey June 17 at the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit that all conditions in the agreement have been met, and the charges are now withdrawn.

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