An Alberta man operating a small mining operation west of Carmacks was ordered to pay $30,000 in fines in Yukon territorial court on Nov. 19 for several violations of the Water Act and Placer Mining Act.
Karil Chaschin, 59, pleaded guilty to a total of eight charges, including permitting the deposit of waste into waters, failing to comply with his water licence, failing to submit an annual report to the Water Board, and removing more overburden than permitted.
The offences took place during the 2018 season.
Chaschin’s operation is located near Nansen Creek, which is about 50 kilometres west from Carmacks.
In a press release Nov. 28, the Yukon’s Department of Energy, Mines and Resources (EMR) said a natural resource officer visited Chaschin’s site in July 2018, where “Chaschin was with three staff actively sluicing and excavating pay material.”
After testing wastewater samples from the mine’s two settling ponds, the officer “determined the discharge levels of effluent were in excess of allowable limits” and ordered Chaschin to stop sluicing and remedy the situation.
A follow-up inspection in September 2018 “revealed the effluent from the wash plant was high in sediment and water was backed up across the access road, unable to reach the settling ponds,” the press release says.
In October 2018, EMR’s mining lands branch also told natural resource officers that Chaschin had moved 75,000 cubic metres of overburden material, or material on top of material that can be actively mined, during the season. That was 35,000 cubic metres more than his operation plan allowed.
The Crown and defence submitted a joint sentencing proposal which added up to a total of $30,000 in fines.
In court, Chaschin’s lawyer, Mike Reynolds said that his client was “personally mortified” by the situation, and takes “great care” to run a “clean operation.”
He noted that in both instances of the water issues, Chaschin had immediately stopped operations have being informed by the inspector of the issues and remediated the situation within 24 hours. The issues had been caused by a settling pond being “rained out,” Reynolds said, and minimal damage, if any, was caused to the creek, although Chaschin acknowledges that he should have been “more on top” of the situation, particularly the second time around.
Chaschin now has an “immense” settling pond on site, Reynolds said, and has taken steps to ensure the violations won’t happen again. He did not have any issues in 2019.
The Crown stayed two additional charges against Chaschin.
Judge Michael Cozens accepted the joint sentence.
Chaschin has 18 months to pay the fine.
Contact Jackie Hong at firstname.lastname@example.org