Vale N.L. going to trial on illegal dumping allegation

Ashley Fitzpatrick afitzpatrick@thetelegram.com
Published on April 29, 2014
Vale Newfoundland and Labrador has been accused of illegally releasing “acutely lethal effluent” into the waters near the Voisey’s Bay mine site. The nickel-copper-cobalt mine first passed federal environmental review in 1997 and Vale recently signed a deal with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador for an expansion of the mine. — File photo courtesy of Vale

A request made by lawyers representing Vale Newfoundland and Labrador in a case of alleged illegal dumping into Anaktalak Bay in Labrador has been denied.

The pre-trial request was for further information on the details behind the charges against Vale Newfoundland and Labrador.

While Judge Jim Walsh denied the ask, laying out his reasoning with supporting case law, he did amend one of three charges against the company for clarity’s sake.

The amendment will, he suggested, address the concerns the case might go — as Vale lawyer Michael Rosenberg had suggested in arguments — “wandering all over the shop,” being unfair to the company and potentially extremely costly to all parties.

The new charges still allege Vale Newfoundland and Labrador illegally dumped waste into the bay near its Voisey’s Bay mine, failed to take reasonable measures at the time to protect fish and fish habitat in the area, and failed to provide a relevant environmental monitoring report.

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

The lawyers representing Vale — Rosenberg and Doug Hamilton — appeared for the pretrial decision via court call.

The lawyers have requested a video conference for another pretrial matter, a review of expected witnesses, scheduled to take place May 5.

The trial is expected to begin shortly after, potentially on May 7.