B.C.’s new mining reclamation policy expands environmental protection
An interim reclamation security policy for B.C.’s mining industry “will better protect the environment, improve the industry’s sustainability, increase transparency and help maintain a competitive industry,” reads a statement from the province.
The interim policy requires that reclamation liability cost estimates include both conventional reclamation (such as re-sloping and re-vegetation) and environmental liabilities (such as water treatment).
The policy also requires bonding for the operation and maintenance of any necessary water-treatment plants.
The policy reflects a mandate commitment to support the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to ensure owners of large industrial projects “are bonded moving forward so that they, not B.C. taxpayers, pay the full costs of environmental cleanup if their projects are abandoned,” states the press release. “While work continues on that broader initiative, the interim policy strengthens the financial security requirements for major mines in B.C.”
The Mines Act gives the chief permitting officer the authority to determine the amount and form of reclamation security required of mine permit holders. Reclamation security is collected to ensure proper site reclamation when mining companies are unable or unwilling to do so. The interim policy establishes how reclamation security is to be calculated and lays out acceptable forms of reclamation security.
The interim policy was developed following the 2016 auditor general’s report on mining that highlighted areas for improvement and the policy was informed by subsequent engagement with Indigenous Nations, non-governmental organizations, industry and the public.
The interim reclamation policy will be reviewed and updated as necessary following the completion of the Public Interest Bonding Strategy that is being led by the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy to improve bonding in the natural resource sector.
To learn more about the policy: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/mineral-exploration-mining/permitting/mine-reclamation-securities