Vale accused of illegal dumping in Labrador

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

Ashley Fitzpatrick
Published on July 10, 2013
The mine concentrator at Vale’s Voisey’s Bay mine site, as seen in 2011. While some employees will have to work their usual shifts at site over the current Christmas holiday, they will also be will be able to spend time with loved ones at the site accommodations complex, seen at right and closer to the mountains. The company will be flying in guests to the site, in a holiday first. — 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.