In the short-term, mining provides benefits to BC’s economy; in the long-term, however, this industry carries extensive risks with large potential costs. Foremost, are those costs associated with site clean-up; where mining companies go bankrupt or default on their obligations, these costs fall on the provincial government and place a heavy burden on taxpayer dollars.
Currently, the provincial government and the taxpayers of the province are, in theory, protected from these costs by laws and policy. However, many of these safeguards only occur at the discretion of the Chief Inspector. For example, the Chief Inspector has discretion to choose whether or not to require a mine to provide security, decide what type of security to accept and amend security amounts. Additionally, there is inadequate legal guidance concerning when government should access security and when security should be released.
By implementing the Recommended Solutions proposed above, BC can strengthen its laws on mine securities, thereby protecting the public purse from costly mine reclamation.