Mine Closure and Post Closure

Post-Closure and Community Development

A typical mine life is somewhere between 15 and 30 years. During this time, local communities risk developing a dependency on mine-related revenues. Laws are therefore needed to help ensure that when a mine closes, communities can withstand the changes to their economies.

Post-closure land use is key in closure planning as it sets goals for closure activities. As traditional landowners, consultation rights in this area must be extended to First Nations people through:

  • Integrating mine closure with First Nation land use plans.
  • Legislating mandatory consultation.

Research and development, and local manufacturing are two alternatives for promoting long-term sustainable development after mining activities end.

Research and Development

Traditionally, mining companies have invested very little in research and development. One way to remedy this is through a clear technology policy that includes, for example, tax relief on the training of engineers in environmental policy and government grants for collaborative university-industry research projects. Legal provisions such as mandating that operating mines contribute to a research and development fund may also help to overcome this historical lack of investment.

In Colorado, a Mines Land Reclamation board is empowered to initiate studies and programs relating to less destructive methods of mining operations.

Local Manufacturing

Current resource policies in BC favour the export of unprocessed natural resources over local manufacturing. This seriously harms the potential long-term benefits that could be gained from the creation of local manufacturing jobs.

Other jurisdictions in Canada, such as Ontario and New Brunswick, have legal provisions that require all extracted ores and minerals “be treated and refined in Canada.”

In BC, the existence of similar provisions in BC forestry laws highlights the past recognition of the importance of local manufacturing as opposed to mere export of raw resources.


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