Vale accused of illegal dumping in Labrador

Ashley
Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Federal government prosecuting case of “acutely lethal effluent” in Anaktalak Bay

The mine concentrator at Vale’s Voisey’s Bay mine site, as seen in 2011. — Photo courtesy Vale Archives

Mining giant Vale has been accused of breaches of the federal Fisheries Act, for allegedly dumping toxic material into Anaktalak Bay, Labrador over the course of almost a month.

Specifically, the company has been accused of depositing “acutely lethal effluent,” mine waste, into the waters of Edwards Cove, Anaktalak Bay — also where the port site for Vale’s Voisey’s Bay nickel mine is located.

The illegal dumping is said to have taken place from Oct. 4, 2011 to Oct. 31, 2011.

The federal government is pressing criminal charges against the company. The case was called in provincial court in St. John’s this morning.

Vale Newfoundland and Labrador is facing three counts in relation to the allegations: one count of illegally depositing waste into a waterway frequented by fish; one count of failing to take reasonable measures following the dumping to prevent the occurrence, and a single count of failing to submit relevant monitoring reports by February 2012.

“It’s not appropriate for me to comment on a matter that is before the courts,” said Vale Newfoundland and Labrador spokesman Bob Carter, when contacted by The Telegram.

It is unclear at this point whether or not the provincial Department of Environment and Conservation participated in the investigation into the case, or if the provincial government as a whole was aware of the allegations at the time of the negotiation of the expansion of Voisey’s Bay into an underground mine.

The case is due back in court Aug. 30.

The Telegram is following this story and will have more as it becomes available.

 

afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Department of Environment and Conservation

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Anaktalak Bay, Edwards Cove

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Recent comments

  • Eldred
    July 14, 2013 - 16:58

    I can't say here what I would like to see happen to those morons.

  • NomadicNortherner
    July 13, 2013 - 09:10

    Do you really think the government cares about the environment more than any industrial business? They know that most corporations can't abide by their environmental regulations, and the only reason they put them in is for the sake of votes. When it becomes public that 'insert-corp-here' made a big mess they weren't allowed to, then it looks ghood on whatever party implemented said regulations.

  • PaulNorthRiver
    July 11, 2013 - 07:23

    To Shione..."So where were the Nunatsiavut and Innu nation environmental monitors while this was going on???" Probably monitoring and documenting the event and providing information to DFO. Yours was a silly question.

  • james G. learning
    July 10, 2013 - 14:29

    Well Labrador is seeing it's share of environmental degradation with the MF Project. So maybe Long Harbour can take up some of the slack. Better none of had to deal with any of this. I'll be the NL Government will do nothing about any of it. Funny how a have not Province is busting its ass to be somebody at the expense of our environments. It will not work, end of the day you will have poison waters, poison food, virtually no fish stocks, and great holes in the ground. If you can't grow a turnip, you sure as hell can't eat a loonie.

  • Scott Free
    July 10, 2013 - 14:16

    Let's prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law! oh, wait now, we played that trump card before and we're in a bigger mess with the Dunderdale file known as the Abitibi Fiasco.

  • Dave van der Brug
    July 10, 2013 - 13:25

    Mining is a dirty business, if NFLD really wanted a clean business they would accept a simple extraction business for Vale. BTW Vale wanted just the extract the ore for the site and move to another location or country to process the ore. But Newfoundland government fought hard to get processing work done on site so now you need to accept the dirt from this activity. I think its nice to get more jobs from the processing however there is no way that the additional jobs will pay for the environmental loss in the years to come. Again we a seeing short term political gain at the expense of longs term environmental well being. Miners will win but fisherman will lose. It hard to pick winners all the time.

  • saelcove
    July 10, 2013 - 12:51

    Told you so

  • Shione
    July 10, 2013 - 11:16

    So where were the Nunatsiavut and Innu nation environmental monitors while this was going on???

  • Craig
    July 10, 2013 - 11:03

    I wonder is the illegal dumping of waste matter the real reason a 20km pipeline is being built deep into Placentia Bay to dispose of "treated" waste water? "Vale" is the legal name of the corporation but it sure seems to want to operate under a "Veil" It will be interesting to hear the excuses that Veil Newfoundland and Labrador uses.

  • abby
    July 10, 2013 - 10:55

    Vale is doing what all companies are doing and getting away with it. After the fracking is done they also will walk away and leave the mess to be cleaned up ,by the govt.

    • Donald
      July 10, 2013 - 13:54

      Abby, this has nothing to do with fracking. Vale mines nickel at Voisey's Bay from an open pit mine, later scheduled to go underground in 2015. They don't produce tight oil. Furthermore, they are contractually already on the hook for the environmental cleanup at the site, including contributing to a fund that was pre-established for that purpose, after the mine is finished. Proof that you have no idea what you are talking about.

  • Red
    July 10, 2013 - 10:54

    It is funny how it is illegal to dump effluent into the bay in Labrador, but they are actually allowing them to do it in Long Harbour. This company should never have been allowed in our province as they are destroying every part of it they touch. This spill is nothing compared to what's going to happen in Long Harbour.