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Our commitment to responsible resource extraction is a key reason why BC mining is internationally recognized as having strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) credentials.

We mine and refine metals responsibly and safely, and our operations have among the lowest carbon emissions in the world. We also meet some of the toughest laws and regulations for environmental protection and worker safety.

BC’s Leading Mining Laws

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.

Leaders in Responsible and Low-Emission Mining

Our members continuously seek new ways to reduce the environmental footprint and impact of their operations. Progress is being made at each mine and smelter, is reviewed publicly in our member’s sustainability reporting, and is guided by continuously evolving industry standards and best practices.

Making real progress against climate change means reducing emissions wherever we can. Fortunately, BC has some of the lowest GHG-intensive mines and smelting operations in the world, thanks to our province’s abundant clean electricity. But our members continue to make significant investments in new and emerging technologies to further reduce their emissions and other impacts such as water consumption.

Many mines plan to achieve net zero by 2050 or sooner and are taking tangible actions to get there. The electrification of haul trucks and other heavy equipment is a primary focus to reduce GHG emissions.

  • The Copper Mountain mine has installed a 1-kilometer-long overhead trolley track to enable 11 haul trucks to run on clean electricity and reduce 55,000 tonnes of GHG emissions per year.
  • Newcrest’s Brucejack mine has purchased seven battery electric scoops and trucks that will eliminate 7,000 tonnes of GHGs annually.
  • Teck Resources and Caterpillar are working towards the deployment of 30 zero-emissions haul trucks at their operations by 2030.

In addition to carbon reduction actions, many of our members are aligned with the requirements of recognized global standards such as Canada’s own Towards Sustainable Mining and the Copper Mark. BC mines are also participating in pilot programs to verify their ESG performance and credentials over blockchain.