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Two Recent Scientific Papers Confirm Mount Polley’s Previously Reported Findings

Mount Polley Mining Corporation is Pleased that Two Recent Scientific Papers Confirm Mount Polley’s Previously Reported Findings.

Two recently published reports (Granger et al., 2022: https://agupubs.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/…/2021WR030574; Pyle et al., 2022: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11356-022-20677-1) provide third party confirmation of Mount Polley’s previously reported findings, which are available on the internet at https://www.imperialmetals.com/…/moun…/technical-reports.

The Granger et al. paper, reported that following the initial high turbidity of Quesnel Lake, the suspended solids mass decreased to within background levels by June 2015 (see also Mount Polley’s 2015 information sheet: https://www.imperialmetals.com/…/2015-11-10_QLWCALO.pdf). Granger et al. studied the movement of the very small percentage of solids (0.3%) that remained in suspension. Granger’s estimates of where those particles went compare very well with the 3-dimensional hydrodynamic model predictions that were reported in TetraTech’s May 2015 observations and modelling update report. It was also great to see the many data sources pulled together by Granger et al. confirming Mount Polley’s data and observations that suspended particulate concentrations, after the initial event, were consistently below the BC Water Quality Guideline (i.e., below the safe level) and with only a few brief exceptions were 1/5th the BC Water Quality Guideline. Mount Polley Mine was pleased to contribute to the equipment used by Granger et al (https://www.imperialmetals.com/…/MP-breach-overview…). The Pyle et al. report also confirms what Mount Polley has previously reported: where the copper is elevated, there is an increase in the tissue levels in invertebrates, including zooplankton. However, as Pyle et al. also note, the concentration of copper in epi-benthic (living on the lake bottom) mayflies had maximum concentrations of 57 mg/Kg, which is almost half of the level that mayflies can tolerate (at least 100 mg/Kg). Moreover, this is about an order of magnitude less than the dietary thresholds (500 mg/Kg) for the fish that eat these. In other words, while the increase may be “statistically significant”, it is not ecologically consequential. The consumers of these benthic invertebrates – Quesnel Lake Fish – show no difference between exposed and reference areas in the lake in Mount Polley’s studies. The fish are healthy, and they don’t present a risk to people who eat those fish – which was also previously reported in Mount Polley’s Human Health Risk Assessment. There are some inconsistencies in the toxicity testing done by Pyle where they did not find growth effects (growth is a sensitive toxicity testing endpoint) but then did find some mortality effects which implies that something other toxicity is happening in their tests. Also, we note that they (which are consistent with Mount Polley’s previous findings) identified amphipods in the shallow zones that Pyle et al. suggest to be toxic. There is a disconnect between their lab and field findings. #remediation#environment#education#fish#fishhabitat

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Mount Polley COMMUNITY UPDATE

Q4 2021

A letter from the Mount Polley Team,

The Mount Polley mine team hopes that this finds you well and healthy.

The team at Mount Polley are continuing to prepare for a mine restart along with routine care and maintenance activities. We have many contractors on site and are actively recruiting talent for full operations.  If you are interested in a career in mining, please contact us at hr@mountpolley.com.

As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, we look forward to offering more opportunity for community engagement and more in-person tours.

MOUNT POLLEY MINE:
CARE AND MAINTENANCE

Below we cover key bulletins that highlight areas of focus with regards to Mount Polley mine’s care and maintenance as part of mine re-start towards the operations phase:

  • Environmental monitoring programs continue and are on track
  • Closure research projects continue as planned
  • Site water management continues, including the treatment of mine contract water through the Actiflo® water treatment plant
  • Springer Pit pre-stripping operations underway
  • Drilling and blasting
  • Restart planning
  • Mill and mine site repairs and upgrades
  • Electrical systems assessment and upgrades
  • Mobile equipment procurement, repairs, and upgrades
  • Site cleanup and general repairs
  • CANMAG magnetite plant maintenance and upkeep 
Figure 1 Limited pit operations have resumed in the Springer Pit.
Figure 2 Truck hauling ore to the stockpile

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING UPDATE

Quarter 4 routine monitoring activities completed:

  • Weekly Water Treatment Plant (WTP) water quality sampling including monthly/quarterly toxicity sampling
  • Monthly water quality sampling at Hazeltine Creek
  • Monthly & quarterly water quality sampling of surface & mine-affected waters including groundwater mine seepage
  • Flow monitoring
  • Water quality sampling and monitoring of in-pit treatment at Springer and Cariboo pits
  • Monthly/quarterly site inspections
  • Reporting—monthly, quarterly, annual
  • Comprehensive Environmental Monitoring Plan (CEMP) development/revision

Environmental monitoring is conducted in accordance with the Environmental Management Act (‘EMA’) Permit 11678, Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations and the approved Comprehensive Environmental Monitoring Plan (‘CEMP’) requirements.

Figure 3  Ground water sampling equipment
Figure 4  River Otters caught on a wildlife camera near the Quesnel Lake shoreline

MPMC WATER TREATMENT PLANT OPERATIONS UPDATE

In Quarter 4 2021, the total treated water discharged to Quesnel Lake was ~1,680,605 mᵌ with an average daily discharge of ~18,267 mᵌ/day.

The plant operated continuously for most of the quarter.  Water quality samples were collected weekly at the WTP influent (E19) and effluent (HAD-3) sites throughout the this period.  Routine toxicity testing was completed on a monthly basis.

On October 27, 2021 a total copper exceedance was observed at the end of pipe sample location HAD-3, triggering a plant shut down and investigation.  The root cause was found to be a combination of water chemistry changes in the source water and high throughput at the plant.  The event triggered a response under our Annual Discharge Plan that included a plant shut down, placing the plant in recirculation mode (not discharging to the environment), requiring additional sampling and further investigation.  Sampling was conducted in Quesnel Lake on the same day and the results indicated that the waters met the BC Water Quality Guidelines for drinking water and aquatic life.

MPMC has applied to amend its Environmental Management Act permit 11678 to extend the discharge period to Quesnel Lake from 2022 to 2025.  This is an interim measure while a broader set of amendment requests are being prepared to allow for further mine development.  A future permit amendment application will request that the discharge period to Quesnel Lake be extended until the end of the mine life.  This amendment process is being conducted jointly with both the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy and the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (EMLI).

WATER TREATMENT PLANT PERFORMANCE UPDATE

Figure 5  Total copper concentrations in parts per million (mg/L) in the influent and effluent of the Actiflo® water treatment plant
Figure 6 Effluent discharge volumes in cubic meters per quarter from the Actiflo® water treatment plant

HAZELTINE AND EDNEY CREEK REMEDIATION

Due to winter season conditions, small-scale remediation work was completed in Quarter 4 of 2021.  Monitoring remains ongoing while planning is underway for 2022.

There is still outstanding terrestrial remediation work to be done.  Planting will resume next spring to address the disturbances created by the 2021/22 construction.  Some earthworks are planned for several small areas withing the Hazeltine Creek corridor and the Polley Lake shoreline.  All future planned work will involve recontouring existing topographical features, planting, and monitoring.

Remediation Update Gallery below are before and after photos that demonstrate the positive transformation of the remediation around the Hazeltine Creek and the Quesnel Lake shoreline. 

RE-START UPDATE

MPMC is targeting a workforce of approximately 355 employees at full scale operations. Currently, an average of 100 personnel per day are reporting to work at the mine.  This includes on-site staff and contractors. Work is currently being undertaken across the site to prepare for full operations.  Present activities are focused on electrical maintenance and upgrades, mobile equipment servicing and upgrades and mill assessment, maintenance and refurbishing amongst other things. Pit operations are underway with the mined material being stockpiled or stored in the waste rock disposal sites.

The grinding mills have been disassembled, inspected and repairs will continue to be performed before receiving a fresh coat of paint in preparation for the mine re-start in April, 2022.

Current Life of Mine Plan – Surface Mining Operations:

  • 11 years mining operations in the Springer/Cariboo combined pit
  • 1 year backhaul of PAG material into Springer pit after operations for subaqueous disposal
  • Construction of the Tailings Storage Facility to 987 meters   
Figure 7  Disassembled grinding mills

MPMC EVENTS

Quarter 1, 2022

January 19, 2022Xatśūll Community Engagement Meeting

January 27, 2022Public Liaison Committee (PLC) Meeting via conference call

March 28, 2022Likely Community Engagement Meeting

Quarter 2, 2022

April 7, 2022Public Liaison Committee (PLC) Meeting via conference call

RESOURCES

mountpolley.com

imperialmetals.com

BC Mine Information Page: https://mines.nrs.gov.bc.ca/

BC Ministry of Environment Natural Resource and Enforcement Database: https://a100.gov.bc.ca/pub/ocers/searchApproved.do?submitType=menu

Interested applicants may send their resume and cover letter to: hr@mountpolley.com

Any questions regarding the Community Update, please email Gabriel Holmes at gabriel.holmes@mountpolley.com

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Mount Polley Community Update Q3 2021

Happy fall everybody. Our team at Mount Polley hopes that this finds you well.

Things at the mine continue to get busier as we prepare for a mine re-start along with our routine care and maintenance activities. We have had many visitors to the site over the past few months, most of whom were contractors conducting work for the mine, but we have also offered several open-air tours covering various aspects of the mine. As we move closer to the end of the pandemic, we look forward to offering more opportunities for community engagement and more in-person tours.

MOUNT POLLEY MINE: CARE AND MAINTENANCE

Below we cover key bulletins that highlight areas of focus with regards to Mount Polley mine’s care and maintenance:

  1. The environmental monitoring
  2. Closure research projects continue programs continue and are on track as planned
  3. Site water management continues, including the near-continuous operation of the water treatment plant
  4. CANMAG plant maintenance and upkeep
  5. Lower Hazeltine Remediation area continues to be monitored and maintained

ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING UPDATE

Quarter 3 routine monitoring activities completed:

  • Weekly Water Treatment Plant (WTP) water quality sampling including monthly/quarterly toxicity sampling
  • Monthly water quality sampling at Hazeltine Creek
  • Monthly & Quarterly water quality sampling of surface & mine affected waters including groundwater mine seepage
  • Flow monitoring
  • Polley Lake, Bootjack Lake, Quesnel Lake water quality sampling
  • Water quality sampling and monitoring of in pit treatment at Springer and Cariboo pits
  • Monthly/quarterly site inspections
  • Reporting—monthly, quarterly, annual
  • Specialized monitoring components including plankton, Polley Lake fish population, fish tissue, habitat characterization, wildlife
  • CEMP development/revision

Environmental monitoring is conducted in accordance with the Environmental Management Act (EMA) Permit 11678, Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations and the approved Comprehensive Environmental Monitoring Plan (CEMP) requirements.

Figure 1 Newly installed H2 hydrological monitoring station.  The original station was removed to facilitate instream remediation
Figure 2  Lynx observed near Hazeltine

MPMC WATER TREATMENT PLANT UPDATE

In Quarter 3, the total treated water discharged to Quesnel Lake was ~1,882,460 mᵌ with an average discharge rate of ~0.243 mᵌ/second and an average of ~20,462 mᵌ/day.

The plant operated continuously for most of Quarter 3.  Water quality samples were collected weekly at the Water Treatment Plant (WTP) influent (E19) and effluent (HAD-3) sites throughout the quarter.

HAZELTINE AND EDNEY CREEK REMEDIATION

Instream construction in Hazeltine and Edney Creeks was completed and finished in Q3 2021.  The work marks an important milestone for the remediation project, all instream work is now completed.  The work was completed in time for the annual salmon migration in the region and salmon did arrive in Hazeltine Creek in mid-September.  A total of 206 sockeye salmon were observed on September 22 and the fish appeared to be using the habitat as intended.  The presence of sockeye salmon and various other fish species is indicating that the remedial work is restoring ecological function.  This is not only evident in the aquatic environments but also evident across the terrestrial landscape where plant communities are developing and abundant wildlife is observed.  It is expected that as both the aquatic and the terrestrial ecosystems mature, further ecological functions will emerge and the site will host an even broader array of organisms.

There is still outstanding terrestrial remediation work to be done.  Planting will resume next spring to address the disturbances created by the 2020/21 construction.  Earthworks are planned for several small areas within the Hazeltine Creek corridor and the Polley Lake shoreline.  Future planned work will involve recontouring existing topographical features, planting, and monitoring.

Figure 3  Sockeye salmon in Hazeltine Creek above the Ditch Road bridge