Agnico Eagle Mines Limited, headquartered in Toronto, recently plead guilty to one offence under the Canadian Fisheries Act for failing to report a spill. The case was heard in the Nunavut Court of Justice. The court ordered the company to pay a total penalty of $50,000, which will be directed to the federal Environmental Damages Fund. As a result of this conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.
The guilty plea arose from an incident that occurred in August 2013 at the Meadowbank Gold Mine in Nunvut. An inspection by inspectors from the Environment Canada and Climate Change (the Canadian equivalent to the U.S. EPA) revealed seepage from the tailings impoundment area into an area immediately next to a fish-bearing waterbody. The release had not been reported to an Environment and Climate Change Canada inspector or to the territorial spill line. Following an investigation by the Department’s enforcement officers, the company was charged under subsection 38(4) of the Fisheries Act -failing to notify an inspector following the unauthorized deposit of a deleterious substance into water frequented by fish.