Mineral Tenure and Land Use Planning: The Surface and Subsurface Divide

No-Go Zones

BC Mining Issue:The protection of cultural sites from mining activities does not extend to lands surrounding cultural sites or to lands required for the settlement of First Nations’ land claims.

Fair Mining Best Practice:Create “no go” buffers around cultural sites and protect lands required for the settlement of First Nations’ land claims.

No-Go Zones are areas throughout BC, such as Indian reserves and national parks, where mining is strictly prohibited.

Mining activities are only prohibited on 13% of the land in BC

No-go zone areas can be divided into three categories:

  • cultural no-go zones;
  • ecological no-go zones, and
  • alternative use no-go zones.

Cultural No-Go Zones

BC’s Mineral Tenure Act, restricts mining activity on land that is considered a cultural resource, defined as: “an object, site or the location of a traditional societal practice that is of historical, cultural archaeological significance to British Columbia, a community or an aboriginal people.”

Ecological No-Go Zones

Although Canada’s National Parks Act prohibits mining in national parks, BC park legislation has been criticized for not adequately protecting all provincial parks, protected areas, watersheds and sensitive ecological areas from mining activities.

Under BC ‘s provincial park legislation, the regulatory authority has broad powers to modify park boundaries. For example, areas of Tweedsmuir Park were removed to make way for the Kemano hydro development project.

Recommended solutions include, for example, the prohibiting of mining activities in parks, important watercourses and ecologically sensitive areas.

Alternative Use No-Go Zones

Anyone can apply to the BC government to create Non Registration Reserves (NNR) or Conditional Registration Reserves (CRR), which ensure that mineral claims do not interfere with other uses of the land, such as parks, watershed issues and First Nations concerns. However, agriculture is not recognized as an alternative land use to warrant a mineral reserve. The legislated oversight grants mining activity an unreasonable preferential land-use status.


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