B.C. seeks public input on mining reforms
British Columbians are being asked by the provincial government to provide feedback on proposed changes to the Mines Act to improve regulation and oversight of the province’s mining sector.
With a $20-million boost in Budget 2019, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources has created a new Mines Health, Safety and Enforcement Division (MHSED). Independent from the Mines Competitiveness and Authorizations Division, MHSED’s priorities are health, safety, compliance management, enforcement activities and auditing.
“Our government’s number 1 priority for this foundational industry is safety – for workers, our environment and communities,” said Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “We’ve invested $20 million over three years to hire more inspectors on the ground and ensure more frequent inspections. The feedback that we receive from British Columbians will be critical for informing how we improve our mining laws and ensure that mining in B.C. is done right.”
The ministry proposes the following amendments to the Mines Act:
- Formally separate specific authorities and decision-making powers under the Mines Act to ensure authorizations and permitting are separate from enforcement and auditing powers.
- Formally establish an independent oversight unit with an auditing function.
- Enhance compliance and enforcement provisions.
The Mines Act regulates all mining activities in B.C., from early exploration, to production and mine closures. It also covers applications and permits, health and safety, and investigations, compliance and enforcement in the mining sector. In response to recommendations made by the Office of the Auditor General for B.C. and the Mining Jobs Task Force, the proposed amendments would seek to improve regulatory oversight of mining in British Columbia.
Public engagement will be open until Oct. 25.
To have a say:
Lead image: Fording River Coal Mine north of Elkford. e-KNOW file photo