Search warrant executed on Imperial Metals

Mount Polley mine owner under investigation by environmental agencies over tailings pond breach

Documents were seized from the offices of Vancouver's Imperial Metals (TSX:III) Tuesday afternoon (February 3) as part of a joint provincial-federal investigation into the Mount Polley mine disaster.

Chris Doyle, an inspector with the B.C. Conservation Officer Service, confirmed a search warrant was executed February 3 as part of the joint investigation -- one of three either underway or concluded. The search was executed at both Imperial Metals' Vancouver office and the Mount Polley mine site office.

"The investigation primarily focuses on offences in respect to the Environmental Management Act and the federal Fisheries Act, but it's not limited to those acts," Doyle told Business in Vancouver.

The investigation involves the provincial Conservation Officer Service, Environment Canada, Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the RCMP.

Imperial Metals has been under scrutiny since last year’s Mount Polley mine disaster. On August 4, 2014 a dam containing tailings from the mine collapsed.

The B.C. government ordered a series of investigations, including a technical probe by a three-person panel of engineers, which made its findings public January 30. That panel concluded that the cause of the dam's collapse was largely a design issue. Also ongoing is an investigation being led by the Chief Inspector of Mines.

In a brief statement issued by Imperial Metals, the company said: "The company understands warrants to be a normal means of investigation, and cooperated fully with the regulatory authorities."

In addition to the ongoing government investigations, Imperial Metals is also facing a class action lawsuit launched on behalf of shareholders.