BC mines are governed by robust, science-driven laws and regulations from the initial stages of exploration to construction and operation through to mine closure and reclamation. These mining laws and regulations are regularly reviewed and updated to remain current with best practices.
The Government of BC has made substantial changes to the laws governing mining in recent years, including a new Mines Act, a revised Health, Safety and Reclamation Code (Code) for Mines, a revised Environmental Assessment Act, new water quality guidelines, and ongoing monitoring to protect downstream communities and critical salmon habitat. MABC strongly supports these changes.
Importantly, BC’s laws governing tailings storage facilities (TSFs) have undergone significant changes, including a requirement to implement a new design and operational criteria, establish Independent Tailings Review Boards, and Engineers of Record.
BC’s mining laws are regularly reviewed and updated by the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code Review Committee. This standing committee conducts an ongoing review process to ensure BC’s mining laws are consistent with world leading standards for environmental protection, health and safety, and post-closure reclamation. The Committee is comprised of representatives from Indigenous communities, labour and industry.
British Columbia was also the first jurisdiction in North America to create an independent Chief Mines Auditor. In 2021, the office of the Chief Mines Auditor released their first audit, comparing 13 key elements of tailings management and tailings storage facility engineering in BC against other mining jurisdictions. The audit found that BC’s tailings management laws and regulations to be among the best in the world.