British Columbia Mining Regulatory and Policy Issues Examination
With British Columbia’s mining industry resurging strongly and 24 new mine development opportunities being advanced; increased pressure has been placed upon regulatory agencies thus testing their ability to respond to growing demands from the industry and British Columbia’s developing economy. In this climate of heightened activity the Mining Association of BC (MABC), in collaboration with Natural Resources Canada and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, prepared a discussion paper in September 2005 to summarize and discuss a number of key issues associated with regulations and policies affecting the mining industry in British Columbia.
Summary of Key Recommendations:
1. Establish timelines for Federal scoping and decision making in Environmental Assessment (EA) process.
2. Expand the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency’s (CEAA) role.
3. Consider incorporating social and economic factors in EA process.
4. Confirm key roles of decision makers and areas of authority, preferably under the coordination of a central review agency.
5. Establish clear standards for required science and decision making.
6. Where overlapping jurisdiction areas (Federal/Provincial) occur, consider designating a single review authority.
7. Centralize coordination of consultation activities with First Nations.
8. Establish clear forms and structures for benefit sharing with First Nations.
9. Develop innovative capacity building and partnership programs with First Nations.
10. Incorporate the consideration of MMER Schedule 2 amendments within existing EA process or timeframe.
Recommendations in the document were preliminary and were made in the spirit of improving the application of high environmental standards, increasing First Nations involvement in the industry, and creating a positive investment climate to facilitate the contribution of sustainable mining to British Columbia’s economy.
These recommendations were further developed and refined following a Roundtable in January 2006, with high level representation from government (Federal and Provincial), industry, First Nations and non-governmental organizations.
Primary Roundtable Themes
Theme I - Creating a more timely and efficient and effective process
Theme II - Creating an EA system that fosters public trust for different stakeholder groups
Theme III - First Nations Involvement
Theme IV - Knowledge and understanding: Capacity, education and employment barriers
MABC has committed to reconvene the Roundtable in June 2006 to continue the dialogue.