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Rise Gold CEO on trial over regulatory allegations in Canada

Ben Mossman

The CEO of Rise Gold Corp is currently on trial in a Canadian court on accusations of discharging waste, effluent and other substances into the environment.

CEO Ben Mossman and Dirk Meckert face 16 offenses under the British Columbia Environmental Management Act, nine under the Fisheries Act of Canada and four under the British Columbia Water Act. The trial in BC Provincial Court began June 20 and could last several months, due to limited court days, said Dan McLaughlin, communications counsel with the BC Prosecution Service, in an email.

“It’s going to be a few days here, a few days there,” he added.

Mossman and Meckert are required to attend the trial, McLaughlin said.

The trial is, in fact, a retrial that was ordered by the Summary Conviction Appeal Court after the men were acquitted in July 2018 of everything but two charges. Mossman’s two convictions and a $15,000 fine also were set aside, CBC reporting states.

The BC Court of Appeal upheld the lower court’s decision, McLaughlin said.

Previous reports state Mossman was the president, CEO and manager of Yellow Giant Mine in in northwestern British Columbia. Meckert was chief geologist and assistant mine manager.

The mine closed in 2015 after Environment and Climate Change Canada said waste from the mine was found in nearby woods and wetlands, CBC has reported.

“For Rise Gold and Rise Grass Valley, environmental compliance is a company priority, as is our commitment to environmental sustainability,” said Jarryd Gonzales, a spokesman for Rise Gold, in an email. “What occurred in Canada seven years ago did not result in any environmental damage, according to the Canadian government’s own reporting and could not happen at the Idaho-Maryland Mine due to the proposed detention ponds and water treatment plant.

He said the company would use state-of-art mining techniques and zero-emission equipment.

“We are proud of the environmentally conscious design and plan for the Idaho-Maryland Mine that will produce sustainable, green gold and will help to expand California’s innovation economy in Nevada County,” he added.

According to Gonzales, Mossman wasn’t at the Yellow Giant Mine at the time of the alleged discharge, and ordered it be reported when he found out.

That appears to conflict at least somewhat with inspection and press reports in British Columbia at at the time that asserted the mine leaders did not report on spills or shut down the mine promptly.

McLaughlin declined to provide possible sentences if prosecutors secure a conviction, saying the issue is before a judge.

Rise Gold hopes to reopen the Idaho-Maryland Mine in Grass Valley. An environmental impact report is currently being developed, a necessary step in the process. A large number of public comments is delaying that document’s completion.

Alan Riquelmy is the managing editor with The Union. He can be reached at ariquelmy@theunion.com or 530-477-4249


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