What was this engagement about?
Historically, water use for prospecting did not require an authorization from the Province and over time mineral exploration and small-scale placer mining were considered prospecting. This changed in 2016 with the narrow definition of prospecting under the Water Sustainability Act (WSA), and individuals undertaking these activities became subject to the requirement to obtain an authorization to use water.
In light of existing permitting requirements under the Mines Act¸ temporary rules were enacted to allow the use of unrecorded (available) water for mineral exploration and small scale placer mining activities without a WSA authorization, subject to new restrictions to protect the environment.
In fall 2018, government released an intentions paper proposing regulations that would continue to allow the use of unrecorded water for mineral exploration and small-scale placer mining activities subject to new provisions to protect the environment. The intentions paper was mailed to all 203 First Nations and posted to the Engage BC website for 6 weeks between October and November 2018. In total, government received 32 responses on the paper, of which 21 were from Indigenous organizations.
Government has now prepared a What We Heard document that summarizes the feedback received, provides additional information about the proposal, and outlines new provisions to protect Indigenous rights and consider water for camp use. Engagement and consultation will continue throughout fall with organizations that provided comment on the intentions paper. A final policy direction is planned before the existing provisions under Section 56 of the Water Sustainability Regulation expire on December 31, 2019.
How will my contribution make a difference?
The What We Heard document indicates how public input helped shape revisions to the original proposal.
Details of the Consultation:
Date: October 9 to November 26, 2018