A dormant zinc and copper mine west of Campbell River should be back in operation early in the new year.
Nyrstar’s Myra Falls mine in Strathcona Park is set to resume operating early next year and has requested the approval of a few permit amendments by the provincial government.
In a letter received by Campbell River council this week, senior project lead with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Lisa Payne said the mine is proposing the expansion of its clean rock quarry, the addition of new spillways, a sewer system expansion – as well as increased monitoring and other improvements – and has given an update on re-opening efforts.
The permit amemdment application says the restart will be “progressive” and will see the first new ore brought to the surface as early as February. By March, Nyrstar expects the mine will be brought up to an extraction rate of 232,000 tonnes per year with full production capacity – 783,612 tonnes per year – to be reached by 2021.
And while “staff are involved in the technical committee,” according to Ron Neufeld, general manager of operations for the city, “and are typically involved in any of the technical reviews of any of the monitoring results and the permitting requirements and conditions that are satisfied as part of their operations,” the letter from the province specifically invited council and city staff to attend technical meetings and give feedback on the proposed permit amendments, which Coun. Larry Samson said he’d like to see happen in Campbell River.
“My understanding is that these review committee meetings are being held in Victoria,” Samson said, “and I’d like to invite them up here to hold either one meeting or plural meetings in Campbell River so that it can be open to the public and more convenient to our staff.”
Myra Falls mine began operation in 1966, but operations were suspended in April of 2015 so that the company could review “deficiencies in site infrastructure, planning, operating and maintenance practices, and inadequate mine development for future mining areas.” The restart was announced earlier this year.
Once back at full operation, the mine is expected to employ 377 people.