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No health, environmental risk due to ‘black rain’ made of dust: Teck

Dust triggered from blast at Teck’s Elkview Operations resulted in what some reported as ‘black rain’
Sparwood residents posted photos on Facebook of “black rain” falling on their vehicles, May 16. Source: Facebook

Dust triggered from a blast at Teck’s Elkview Operations was carried into the community of Sparwood by a combination of unusual wind and localized showers this week, according to the mining company.

After partial showers in the afternoon of May 16, some residents took to social media reporting what they called ‘black rain’ falling from the sky.

READ MORE: ‘Black rain’ reported in Sparwood

Teck told The Free Press there is no health or environmental risk associated with this short-term, isolated dust incident.

Teck said it apologizes to residents who were affected by this deposition of dust, and encouraged anyone who has concerns about impact on their property to contact their community office in Sparwood at 1-855-806-6854 or via email at

“Elkview Operations is fully reviewing this incident, and we are working to continually improve dust management at the operation,” said Teck’s manager of social responsibility, Nic Milligan.

Milligan explained that they are currently working on:

  • Monitoring and evaluating all blasts to aid in minimizing effects.
  • Undertaking an air flow modelling study to better predict dust from blasts and the effect of weather and air flows.
  • Evaluating new blasting technologies and practices to reduce vibration and dust.

Teck said it’s also adding a second mister truck to a fleet of six units currently utilized to reduce fugitive dust. A mister truck uses misting systems to manage dust. Trucks are typically equipped to carry 40,000 gallons of water, with two misters that can spray 90 gallons per minute.

“We value being good neighbours to the local community, and are committed to improving our dust management and working hard to minimize dusting incidents,” said Milligan.

Phil McLachlan

About the Author: Phil McLachlan

Phil McLachlan is the editor at the Penticton Western News. He served as the reporter, and eventually editor of The Free Press newspaper in Fernie.
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