Vale lawyers ask for particulars

Ashley Fitzpatrick
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Company looking to narrow scope of trial discussion

Lawyers representing Vale Newfoundland and Labrador are looking to get more specific on the accusations against the company, as allegations of illegal dumping into Anaktalak Bay in Labrador in 2011 head towards a trial date.

At provincial court in St. John’s today, arguments are being heard on an application by the company for further particulars on the government’s case.

Vale has been charged under the federal Fisheries Act, for allegedly dumping toxic material — acutely lethal effluent — into the waters of the bay, where the port site for the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine is located.

The charges include one count if illegally depositing waste into waters frequented by fish, one count of failing to take reasonable measures following the dumping to prevent the occurrence and one count of failing to provide relevant monitoring reports.

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

Arguments as of mid-day have focused on the charge relating to measures taken or not taken by Vale.

“The disclosure materials here are extensive. They identify many measures taken by the company to prevent the deposits,” argued Vale lawyer Doug Hamilton.

“I don’t want to go through the trial guessing at what (the Crown) is going to argue at the end of the day should have been done.”

Fellow Vale lawyer Michael Rosenberg argued identifying some further particulars could help narrow the scope of the trial, reducing the time required, “and keeping this trial from wandering all over the shop.”

The lawyers for Vale Newfoundland and Labrador have also said the government has failed to disclose any evidence of any negative, “real world” impact on the bay as a result of the alleged illegal discharge of waste.

The Crown presents its arguments this afternoon.

A trial on the charges is expected later this year.

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