The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation confirms it is investigating a flooding event at the Myra Falls Mine southwest of Campbell River.
CHEK News has been told the flooding occurred on Dec. 28, 2023.
In a statement, ministry staff said: “Myra Falls management have informed staff at the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation about the flooding. It has been reported as a failed valve that has now been replaced, and the flooding has stopped.
“Two inspectors will be onsite today and tomorrow for a full site inspection. We will be able to provide more details once the underground inspection has been conducted.”
The mine is owned by Singapore-based Trafigura, which laid off almost 300 people at the underground facility just before Christmas, leaving a skeleton staff.
Former workers have expressed concerns about the lack of staff at the mine and raised flooding as a possible issue.
One former worker says the recent flooding is significant and happened in an area that had just been actively mined a few weeks ago. The person also says the hydropower has been lost, and the operation is limping on backup power.
On Tuesday, a Myra Falls spokesperson said, “The area around the Myra Falls Mine has experienced heavy rainfall over the past week. Excess water has been diverted in a controlled process into portions of the underground works, and additional pumps have been installed. There has been no environmental impact from the excess water, or the underground water management process.”
The Myra Falls Mine website lists zinc, lead and copper as minerals mined at the site.
In December, Trafigura said “increased operating costs and depressed metal prices over a sustained period of time mean the operation is no longer financially viable, and the mine will be placed on long-term care and maintenance.”