Imperial Metals’ Mount Polley mill in B.C. The mine had a tailings pond failure in 2014, (Image: Imperial Metals)
The government of British Columbia is asking for public input on changes it is proposing to the province’s Mining Act.
The proposed amendments, which are intended to improve regulation and oversight of mining in B.C. include:
-Formally separating specific authorities and decision-making powers under the Mines Act to ensure authorizations and permitting are separate from enforcement and auditing powers;
-Formally establishing an independent oversight unit with an auditing function; and
-Enhancing compliance and enforcement provisions.
The province created a new Mines Health, Safety and Enforcement Division (MHSED) this year that is independent from the Mines Competitiveness and Authorizations Division, budgeting $20 million toward it. Both divisions are under the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, but the MHSED is focused on health, safety, compliance management, enforcement activities and auditing.
“Our government’s No. 1 priority for this foundational industry is safety — for workers, our environment and communities,” said Michelle Mungall, B.C. minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “We’ve invested $20 million over three years to hire more inspectors on the ground and ensure more frequent inspections. The feedback that we receive from British Columbians will be critical for informing how we improve our mining laws and ensure that mining in B.C. is done right.”
The public has until Oct. 25 to fill out a short survey or submit feedback by mail or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.