- The proposed tailings pond for Red Chris is far larger than that of the Mount Polley Mine. It has a similar design to the Mount Polley tailings pond , now famous for its catastrophic dam breach that unleashed approximately 25 million cubic metres of toxic heavy metals and chemical laden tailings water and sludge into Polley Lake, down Hazeltine Creek, into Quesnel Lake and onto the Quesnel River which directly connects to the Fraser River Watershed.
- The Red Chris tailings storage facility as planned straddles the headwaters of three local watersheds, and is downstream of both the Klappan River and a chain of large lakes draining into the Iskut River. The tailings that would be generated by the mine would include crushed rock, water, heavy metals and chemicals from the mine's mill. The mine will release untreated mine water into a creek that eventually flows into the salmon-bearing Stikine River.
- Even though an independent review by Klohn Crippen Berger found the Red Chris tailings facility design to be "feasible" if constructed properly, it also revealed a host of problems with their tailings pond design, including the risk of seepage and leakage from the storage facility. The review includedmade 22 recommendations, among those being for a liner to prevent seepage and that Imperial Metals had not done enough work to even predict how bad he seepage would be. The review also raised the concern to further study the risks associate with the Kluea landslide, whose crest is about 300 metres from the eventual pit rim. The landslide could potentially let loose and hit the mine site, resulting in an uncontrolled release of contaminated water.
- The review also identified a number of items that were lacking for the Red Chris Tailings facility including emergency response plans, an operating, maintenance and surveillance manual for the tailings facility, and studies to detail what would happen if there was a tailings dam collapse.
- The tailings at Red Chris are considered to be much more acidic than those at Mount Polley. Should a failure occur at Red Chris similar to what happened at Mount Polley, the consequences could be far more devastating due to the increased acidity of the tailings. The independent review noted that “any failure of the Red Chris impoundment will likely have a much more significant environmental impact than the Mount Polley failure.
- By pushing the Red Chris mine ahead, Imperial Metals and the provincial government are ignoring the Kablona Keepers Indigenous rights and title on unceeded land. The mine will lead to the contamination and destruction of the lands and waters that they've hunted, fished and lived off for thousands of years. It could also affect their home community of Iskut, which is only 18 kilometres from the mine site. Watch this video from the Kablona Keepers to learn more about the impacts.
- The Red Chris mine has been heralded as Imperial Metals new cash cow. If successful, it could help Imperial Metals to finance its other destructive mining projects. These projects include two proposed mines in Clayquot Sound (a copper mine at Catface Mountain in Ahousaht territory and the Fandora gold mine on Tla-o-qui-aht territory), and the Ruddock Creek lead and zinc mine in Secwepemc territory at the headwaters of the Adams River. The Ruddock Creek mine threatens some of the most important watersheds and salmon runs in Secwepemc territory, including the Adams River run, the world's largest remaining sockeye salmon.
- Imperial Metals now has a proven record of putting profits before safety, cutting corners, and neglecting the multiple warnings about a tailings dam breach from its own workers, independent consultants, and government officials. Do we really want another Mount Polley mine disaster in the Sacred Headwaters with the Red Chris mine?
- Billionaire Murray Edwards is Imperial Metals largest shareholder and he is also the chairman of tarsands giant CNRL, a company now infamous for its tarsands spill in Alberta that it has been unable to clean up since 2013. Edwards is also one of the biggest donors to the B.C. Liberals, having made major campaign contributions to both Premier Christy Clark and Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett. And you get what you pay for. The BC government has a dismal record of rubber stamping and fast tracking mining approvals, not holding companies accountable or enforcing regulations, and failing to invest in the necessary monitoring of these mining projects.
These reasons show that the Red Chris mine is a recipe for disaster in the Sacred Headwaters that will put communities and watersheds at risk.