Statement from North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice on Banks Island gold mine

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banks_island_gold_mineNorth Coast MLA Jennifer Rice released the following statement on the ongoing situation at the Banks Island gold mine.

“I have been closely following this issue since my colleague Norm Macdonald was first contacted by a mine worker on July 4. As our caucus spokesperson for mining, Norm did the responsible thing and took these concerns about health and safety for workers – and the potential environmental concerns – to Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett and Environment Minister Mary Polak. Judging by the timeline, it seems Norm’s advocacy spurred the government into action.

“Since then I have contacted the Gitxaala First Nation and have attempted to contact the company to get their views on a truly perplexing story. In the aftermath of the Mt. Polley disaster, it’s hard to understand how the B.C. Liberals could say that a mine has been shut down and the mine operator could say that they are continuing operations.

“My primary concern is representing the interests of my constituents, the Gitxaala Nation, the mine workers and those concerned about potential environmental damage. Conflicting media reports have made this a difficult story to assess fully and I will continue to do that work so that the North Coast is effectively represented in Victoria.

“My office is happy to take calls from media and from concerned citizens about this or other important issues in my constituency.”