Mining company in Manitoba fined $200,000 for violating federal environmental legislation

News release

April 13, 2022 – Winnipeg, Manitoba

The Government of Canada enforces laws that protect Canada’s air, water, and natural environment, and it takes pollution incidents and threats to the environment very seriously.

On April 11, 2022, CaNickel Mining Limited was ordered to pay $200,000 after pleading guilty in the Provincial Court of Manitoba to two offences, which are violations of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations made pursuant to the Fisheries Act. The fine will be directed to the Government of Canada’s Environmental Damages Fund.

Following an investigation by Environment and Climate Change Canada enforcement officers, CaNickel Mining Limited was charged in December 2018.

The company was charged with one count of depositing or allowing the deposit of an effluent that contained a deleterious substance, in excess of authorized limits, in a place where the effluent may enter water frequented by fish (Bucko Lake). Sampling conducted by the mine showed that effluent released from the mine during the month of July 2017 contained higher-than-authorized levels of the radioactive element radium 226.

In addition, the company was charged with one count relating to a failure to follow requirements to collect and test effluent samples on scheduled dates in 2017. Effluent sampling is a mandatory condition of an authorization to release mine effluent under the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. Sample testing is used to verify that the effluent meets the standards set to protect fish and fish habitat.

As a result of today’s conviction, the company’s name will be added to the Environmental Offenders Registry.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has created a free subscription service to help Canadians stay current with what the Government of Canada is doing to protect our natural environment.

Quick facts

  • Under subsection 40(2) of the Fisheries Act, offenders are subject to a higher fine range for second or subsequent offences. In October 2016, CaNickel Mining Limited was fined $80,000 after pleading guilty to having committed two offences under the Fisheries Act in violation of the Metal Mining Effluent Regulations. These charges related to depositing effluent that contained radium 226 and nickel in excess of authorized limits, in 2014.

  • The Metal Mining Effluent Regulations were amended in 2018 and renamed the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations.

  • Environment and Climate Change Canada is responsible for the administration and enforcement of the pollution prevention provisions of the Fisheries Act, which prohibit the deposit of deleterious substances into water frequented by fish.

  • Created in 1995, the Environmental Damages Fund is a Government of Canada program administered by Environment and Climate Change Canada. The Fund follows the “polluter pays” principle and ensures that court-awarded penalties are used to support projects with positive environmental impacts.

  • The Environmental Offenders Registry contains information on convictions of corporations for offences committed under certain federal environmental laws.

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