BC Mining Issue:There are no mandatory legal requirements to have mine closure plans reviewed by interested parties – and if they are reviewed – that any recommendations made are adopted.
Fair Mining Best Practice:BC law should incorporate mine closure policy requirements that require adequate and consistent review of mine closure plans.
In the past, closed mines were simply abandoned. This lead to widespread toxic contamination of local ecosystems. Today, mine closure is an essential part of the planning process before mining activities begin.
BC’s Britannia Beach mine site cost taxpayers 70 million to repair and address toxicity issues, so far, and will always require water treatment.
There are several issues with BC’s current mine closure policies:
- Requirements for, and the content of, mine closure plans in BC are subject to the Chief Inspector’s significant discretion.
- No mandatory legal requirements to have closure plans reviewed by interested parties or that any recommendations will be adopted.
- An overall lack of legal requirements to encourage transparency in the closure plan process.
“Closure plans” refers to decommissioning, reclamation and socio-economic plans.
To remedy these issues, BC should incorporate explicit mine closure policies into law. These laws could ensure that important content is included in all closure plans, that these plans meet set standards, and that the potential for adverse effects is considered before mine closure.
Closure plans need to be reviewed and updated regularly to reflect changing or unexpected conditions. In BC, there is no legal requirement to update closure or reclamation plans.
These laws could also ensure that consistent and adequate reviews of closure plans include consultation with First Nations and local governments.
This section discusses the following issues related to BC’s mine closure regulations: