The Mines Act regulates all mining activities in British Columbia – from early exploration to production, reclamation, closure, and post-closure. Under this Act, mining activities include precious and base metal mines, coal mines, industrial mineral mines (e.g. silica, limestone), rock quarries, sand and gravel operations, and placer mines. The Mines Act is supported by specific requirements found in the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia (the Code). Updates to the Mines Act will support recent organizational changes within the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources (EMPR) and modernize compliance and enforcement requirements.
These proposed changes are in response to and were informed by lessons learned from the Mount Polley mine disaster, recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor General for B.C., and from the unanimous recommendations from the Mining Jobs Task Force (MJTF) which is made up of representatives from Indigenous communities, industry, municipal government, an environmental non-governmental organization, labour, post-secondary/training institutions and the financial sector.
The public was recommended to consult the Regulatory Excellence and Continuous Improvement in the Mining Sector Intentions Paper before providing feedback.
The engagement was focussed on three topic areas:
- Formalize structural separation of regulatory functions
- Establishment of the Independent Oversight Unit
- Enhancements to compliance and enforcement
September 21, 2019 to October 25, 2019
Responses were received from across the province and included a private citizens, mining industry representatives and unspecified contributors.
- 134 online survey responses were received
- 20 emails were submitted
- Five written submissions were provided from a combination of industry associations, indigenous organizations and environmental organizations
Across all three topic areas, respondents wrote about the importance of decision makers and inspectors having mining sector expertise including operational, environmental and engineering backgrounds. Comments also specified the expectation that public health and safety and mitigation of risk to the environment should be at the forefront of permitting and oversight decisions.
Input leads to action:
Read the What We Heard Report that summarizes feedback received from this engagement.