Imperial Says It Has Funds for Dam Repair as Probe Begins

Aug 18, 2014 5:27 pm ET

(Updates with closing stock price in seventh paragraph.)

Aug. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Imperial Metals Corp. assured investors it has the money to clean up a mine waste spill at its Mount Polley mine as British Columbia commissioned an independent probe into the Aug. 4 accident.

Imperial Metals is “confident we have the financial resources to remediate this over time,” Brian Kynoch, president of the Vancouver-based mining company, said today on a conference call to discuss second-quarter earnings.

Imperial, which owns 100 percent of the copper-and-gold mine, said Aug. 14 it plans to sell C$100 million ($92 million) of bonds to help cover costs at Mount Polley and to finish construction of its C$631 million Red Chris mine, which is also in British Columbia.

The provincial government has appointed a three-member panel to investigate the incident and report its findings by Jan. 31.

“The motivation for doing this is to get at the truth,” Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett said today on a conference call with reporters.

The failure of a waste-pond dam at the Mount Polley mine, 400 kilometers (250 miles) northeast of Vancouver, released an estimated 10 million cubic meters (2.64 billion U.S. gallons) of water and 4.5 million cubic meters of ground-up rock. A ban on using tap water for drinking or bathing imposed after the spill has been lifted for most of the affected area.

Imperial shares rose 1.1 percent to C$10.22 at the close in Toronto. The stock has plunged 39 percent since the Aug. 4 accident, erasing about C$500 million of market value.

British Columbia also said independent inspections would be carried out before the end of the year on 98 other tailings ponds in the province.

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