’20 storeys drop’: Mining company warns of dangers on Mount Sicker from former mines

'20 storeys drop': Mining company warns of dangers on Mount Sicker from former mines

The backers of a potential mining operation on Mount Sicker – north of Duncan – are warning the public, particularly hikers and bikers, of potential danger.

During work to get approval to repurpose the site, Sasquatch Resources crews discovered a number of mine shafts, some still open.

The company says it would properly address them if the project is allowed to go ahead.

Now surrounded by tape, the largest shaft near the top of Mount Sicker sat open Friday.

“Before we did this a few days ago you could’ve easily walked right over the edge, and it’s a 20 storeys drop,” said Peter Smith, CEO of Sasquatch Resources.

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Sasquatch Resources sent a drone down the shaft to determine its size.

It’s the most dangerous of a number of open or collapsed shafts documented by the company of the four former mines that operated on Mount Sicker in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

“What we need to do is address these danger,” said Smith. “Some remediation, maybe some iron gates, some fences and in some cases really just need to fill in these dangerous shafts.”

The company is investigating whether it could mine the tailings or waste rock piles left by the former mines with the latest, and improved, mining techniques for gold, silver, copper and zinc.

This week, Sasquatch Resources announced it reached an agreement with another B.C.-based company that would sort the rock and clean the site if approvals are granted. A director of Sulphide Remediation Inc. sees a lot of upside for the environment.

“We’re removing the sulphides. We’re preventing acid rock drainage. We’re preventing heavy metals from leaching into the water tables and the creeks. That’s huge. But also now we are producing copper and lead and zinc from a source that’s pre-existing so we don’t have to dig another mine in order to produce this metal,” said Brent Hilscher, a director with Sulphide Remediation Inc.

Sasquatch Resources says initial consultations with the Halalt and Cowichan First Nations have been positive.

The company is hoping to file the project’s description with the Ministry of Energy and Mines within the next 10 days while also warning anyone who may be going up to the site to be extra careful and to watch their step.

RELATED: Company investigating mining project in the Cowichan Valley

Kendall HansonKendall Hanson

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