The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) plans to be a full, active participant in the federal government’s review of environmental and regulatory processes.
“The mining industry’s experience with the regulatory reforms of 2012 differs from many other sectors. In contrast to others, our sector experienced not less, but more oversight of projects, more stringent requirements, and more uncertainty, especially during the transition to the new regime,” stated Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, MAC. “We have considerable knowledge and experience to share with the government, Indigenous peoples and other stakeholders in terms of how the current system is being implemented and what can be done to improve overall public confidence, certainty and predictability of federal reviews.
Mining projects are subject to several federal laws, including the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Fisheries Act and Navigation Protection Act. Today, mining projects represent the majority of federal environmental assessments and Section 35 authorizations under the Fisheries Act.
MAC welcomes the government’s approach to multi-stakeholder consultation. The government has committed to revive multi-stakeholder forums, comprising environmental groups, Indigenous organizations and industry, to serve as consultative bodies during this review process – a key recommendation made by MAC and many others. MAC hopes and expects to participate on the government’s proposed multi-interest advisory committee.
“Collaboration and consultation should be cornerstones of this review. The announcement today involved six Ministers from relevant portfolios, which underscores the high level of integration and collaboration needed as government works on regulatory reform. This is especially true for the mining sector, as our mines require many different federal approvals,” said Gratton.
Beyond a more collaborative and consultative process, MAC is also recommending that government carefully plan for the transition and ensure there is enough capacity to carry out any new approach. In the first instance, MAC will be consulting members to provide the mining sector’s views on the draft Terms of Reference for the Environmental Assessment Expert Panel.
As mining projects are also regulated provincially and territorially, the federal government should consider how to improve coordination not only between the various federal departments, but also with the provinces and territories to avoid delays and confusion.
The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada’s production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal and mined oil sands, and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit www.mining.ca.