CBC: Federal inspectors find unreported spills at Cantung Mine, issue warning to company. Mine has been in care and maintenance since closure last fall

North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. has been given a warning by federal inspectors for not complying with its water licence at its defunct Cantung Mine. The mine is located in the N.W.T. about 300 kilometres by road northeast of Watson Lake, Yukon.

It closed last fall after North American Tungsten was unable to pay the mine’s operating expenses and is now under care and maintenance. Inspectors with Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada visited the site on May 10 and found the company had failed to install structures to control erosion and wasn’t immediately reporting spills as was required in its water licence.

In their report, the inspectors also noted that sediment from the mine’s quarry had leaked into the Flat River after the erosion control structures put in place failed. Several fuel drums, fuel pipes and fuel from machinery at the site were also found to be leaking.

Any company found violating the Mackenzie Valley Resource Management Act can be fined up to $100,000 or imprisoned for up to six months. The inspectors gave the company a warning and ordered it to clean up the area and replace the leaking structures.

In its written response on May 13, North American Tungsten Corporation Ltd. says “immediate action was taken to rectify some contraventions identified in the Inspector’s Order and a proposed action plan was prepared to address all other deficiencies in a timely manner.” The company says it has since constructed an additional berm on the banks of the Flat River, sealed leaks and removed contaminated soil.

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