Mine Closure and Post Closure

Work Stoppage

Overview of BC Law

Work can stop at a mine for a variety of reasons, including: labour strikes, ore depletion, drops in metal prices, company bankruptcy, or machine failure of a temporary or long-term nature. This may or may not lead to a long-term mine shutdown. As such, mine closure may or may not transpire from a work stoppage. Theoretically, work may cease at a mine in BC for many years, although the mine may never fully ‘close’, thereby delaying full implementation of the closure plan.

Under BC law, only 7 days’ notice must be provided for mine work stoppage.58 This makes it possible for a mine to close very suddenly, which could be detrimental to local communities that have become economically dependent on that source of revenue. When a mining activity is stopped with 7-day notice, the proponent must continue to carry out the mine permit conditions, and carry out a program of site monitoring and maintenance.59 Where mining operations do not start up within a year, the mine is in stasis, triggering additional legal requirements for the miner. This includes requirements to:60

  • submit an application for a permit amendment that includes a revised program;
  • provide detailed and up-to-date engineered drawings regarding site hazards to local emergency agencies; and
  • if practicable, make plans available on site at a conspicuous location.

A basic requirement for mine closure is the provision of notice by the miner of its intention to close. If a proponent decides to close the mine, the miner must also file specific plans with the Chief Inspector within 90 days of mine closure. These plans include plan view drawings and cross-sections of surface and underground workings.61

Specific legal requirements with respect to reclamation standards and infrastructure decommissioning are also provided under BC law; they are discussed later in this Chapter.


BC Law mandates a 90-day notice before mine closure; however, there are no legal provisions that prevent a mine from filing a 7-day work stoppage notice and remaining “un-closed” indefinitely. In addition, since the filing of a notice to stop work under the 7-day minimum requirement can eventually lead to closure, the window of time that a community receives regarding the a mine closure may be extremely small.

Recommended Solutions

Clarify notice requirements for temporary and permanent mine closure

[Tags: Closure Plans; Notice; Reclamation Plans; Decommissioning]

Laws in other jurisdictions mandate that notice and other requirements be fulfilled where temporary mine closure extends over a period of time. For example:

  • In New Brunswick, if a mine ceases production, or decreases production to less than 60% of planned capacity, the miner must immediately inform the minister, and provide reasons for the work stoppage or reduction.62
  • Manitoba requires that 90-days notice63 be given to the director if the proponent plans to close the mine temporarily or permanently, or plans to suspend production for more than 90 days.64
  • Ghana requires proponents to provide three-months notice prior to stopping production at a mine.65 If work stoppage is unavoidable, then notice must be provided within 14 days of the work stoppage.66
  • In Saskatchewan, if a pollution control facility (which is necessary to operate a mine) is closed for more than 180 days, the miner must apply for government approval to extend the temporary closure.67

These types of approaches are also supported by provisions in some First Nations Mining Policies.68

Minimum content requirements for stop-work notice

[Tags: Closure Plans; Notice; Reclamation Plans; Decommissioning]

Clear content requirements for stop-work notices are provided in other jurisdictions. For example, Saskatchewan requires notices to include updated plans for the mine as well as methods for disposing explosives, abandoning shafts and securing the site.69 Ghana requires that reasons for suspended production at a mine be included in the notice.70 This is important information for a regulatory authority to have available when planning future uses of the affected areas.



Learn About Mining

Problems and Solutions


A Community Resource