Ministry prevents blasting at incident site 

Terrane Development must apply for blasting permit elsewhere on their Pemberton property

An order from the province’s Chief Mines Inspector has permanently restricted blasting operations at the Hazelwood Quarry in Pemberton.

The order came after an investigation into an errant blast at the quarry in April, which sent a shower of rocks into nearby Mount Currie.

Now the company will no longer be able to quarry the area where the blast happened.

"A letter has been sent to the company indicating that their permit has been amended to prohibit blasting at the location where the incident occurred," said Shawn Robins, communications director with the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

"…(T)he community is too close for safe blasting. However the company may reapply for blasting on the property at a site further from the community."

April’s blast from the Hazelwood Quarry, which borders the Pemberton Industrial Park and a residential neighbourhood in Mount Currie, sent softball-sized rocks next to homes and offices in the small First Nations community.

Immediately the Ministry of Energy and Mines stepped in to investigate and issued a stop blast order during the investigation.

After weeks of investigation the Chief Mines Inspector, Fred Hermann, sent his letter of direction to the company.

Gord Clayton, general manager of Terrane Development, which operates the quarry, said they have now called in experts to revise their blasting plan for the site.

"Ultimately we have to ensure that… there is no compromise to safety," said Clayton.

"There was never any compromise previous but at the same time we have to go to an extraordinary length to ensure safety, and so we should."

The company will no longer use the same engineer or blasting company that was involved in April’s incident.

Clayton is hoping to get a revised blasting plan completed in the coming weeks which will then be submitted to the ministry for approval.

"We are confident and (the experts) are confident that safe blasting can occur," said Clayton.

"Everybody’s concern is to ensure that the incident that occurred never happens again. It’s got to be demonstrated that it will not happen again."

In reapplying for their blast permit at another location on the 100 acre quarry, Terrane will most likely be required to do blast tests as part of the ministry’s standard procedures, said Robins.

The community will be notified if this is going to happen, he added.

Despite a stop blast order, which has lasted for more than six weeks now, Clayton said the company’s operations have not been adversely affected.

"We’ve certainly been able to mitigate the circumstance with other activity," he said.

"We haven’t been pressed to do another blast.

He explained that the blasting schedule for 2004 was nominal. But at the same time if they’re not blasting in four to six more weeks they could start to feel the pinch.

Terrane Development also has a topsoil operation on the same site. It also came under scrutiny at the same time as the April blast.

At that time neighbours in Mount Currie had complained to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District and the ministry of mines about smells from chicken manure wafting into their community.

The manure was used to make high-grade topsoil on the site.

Clayton explained that measures have been taken to fix the smells, including moving the storage facilities away from the neighbours and getting covered bins.

Terrane will also be investing in a windsock and will restrict topsoil blending if the prevailing wind is heading toward the neighbours.

The company has not brought any chicken manure onto the site since the complaints but Clayton is confident that when they do there won’t be any problems with smells.

Clayton said: "We have every intention of being as low an impact a neighbour as possible."


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