VANCOUVER — British Columbia’s energy and mines minister says a gold and copper mine that suffered a disastrous tailings pond collapse last summer could be back up and running by the end of the month.

Bill Bennett says the owners of the Mount Polley mine appear to have provided all the information the province has asked for in order to get 370 people back to work.

He says the province is reviewing the information provided by Imperial Metals Corp. (TSX:III), and if nothing is missing it will issue a permit allowing the mine to reopen by the end of June.

Bennett says the Vancouver-based company has spent nearly $70 million cleaning up the damage caused when the dam burst, but it will take a long time before the area is back to normal.

The mine near Williams Lake, B.C., has been closed since August, when a dam failure caused 24 million cubic metres of silt and water to spill into nearby lakes and rivers.

Layoff notices were handed last month to 120 employees working on cleanup and repairs at Mount Polley, but the union said at the time that operations could re-start by mid-July if Imperial Metals gets a permit to reopen.

(CKNW/The Canadian Press)

The Canadian Press