TORONTO - The ONTARIO MINING ASSOCIATION (OMA) supports the removal of barriers to mining companies performing Good Samaritan rehabilitation work.
OMA member companies have a history of volunteering to assist with the rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites on Crown lands. Although it is not legally responsible for cleaning up government-owned sites, the industry is concerned about the environmental, safety and economic problems some of these sites pose for communities. In May 2003, the OMA signed a memorandum of understanding with the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) to help address this legacy issue in a collaborative fashion. In the past, however, OMA members have been somewhat reluctant to engage in hands-on cleanups on Crown lands because of liability risks and legal issues.
The proposal to amend the Mining Act to provide protection for anyone performing mine rehabilitation work on abandoned mines that are Crown property is an excellent step in removing obstacles to mining companies performing Good Samaritan work in their communities, said OMA president Chris Hodgson. While we appreciate the general intent of the proposed amendments, we would like to offer some comments on two aspects of the proposal.
The OMA would like to see changes to address concerns about the nature of historic ownership and partnerships of Crown properties in order to not negate Good Samaritan efforts. Also, the OMA would like to see clarification of interpretations of the Mine Rehabilitation Code and other closure regulations. Permission and approval from MNDM for specific projects should be required among the potential components for legislative brownfield reform.
The proposed changes relate to reclamation work on government-owned properties.