Teck had to pay more than $16.5-million in fines from the provincial government in January for violating environmental protection laws.
The combined penalties were slapped on the mining giant on Jan. 31 for three separate incidents.
The largest saw a $15,480,000 fine issued for the company’s failure to have Fording River south active water treatment facility up and running by the deadline of Dec. 31, 2018.
“The water treatment facility is required to treat effluent from the Swift, Cataract and Kilmarnock Creeks for selenium and nitrate, tributaries that have the highest concentrations of selenium in the Upper Fording River,” said B.C. government officials.
The water treatment plant began normal operations on July 1, 2022, about three and a half years later.
Another $864,000 administrative penalty was issued to Teck for going over the agreed limit of nitrate effluent 48 times between January 2019 and February 2021.
“These exceedances ranged from six per cent to 51 per cent over authorized limits,” said the B.C. government. “This has been a persistent issue, with 180 nitrate exceedances since February 2015. They have previously received nine warnings for this issue.”
The smallest fine of $216,000 comes from the company going over its limit of selenium effluent at the Greenhills, Line Creek and Fording River compliance points.
“These exceedances ranged from four per cent to 25 per cent over the permitted limit,” said the province. “Since the issuance of their authorization, there have been 93 daily exceedances and 45 monthly exceedances ranging up to 537 per cent above the permit limit. They have previously received five warnings for this issue.”
To put this in perspective, the combined fines are equal to about 0.9 per cent of Teck’s third-quarter gross profit in 2022, which the company said was $1.881-billion.
This comes after the federal and provincial governments issued a $2.2-million penalty on Teck on Jan. 10 for spilling acid from its Trail operation into the Columbia River.
More: Teck fined $2 million for acid spill (Jan. 11, 2023)