An Audit of the Canadian Mining Sector in British Columbia.

An Audit of Compliance and Enforcement in the Mining Sector, Auditor General of British Columbia, May 2016. 

Screen Shot 2016-07-23 at 11.26.39 amThis audit of British Columbia’s mining sector exposes poor regulation and inadequate environmental enforcement of British Columbia’s mining industry. It highlights the failure to coordinate between the Ministry of Energy and Mining (MEM) and The Ministry of Environment (MoE) along with the exorbitant expenses of cleaning after spills, and water contamination. It urges the British Columbian Government to create an independent enforcement unit for mining activities, with a mandate to ensure the protection of the environment in place of the existing setup which is hampered by conflicts of interests.

It highlights the major risks to the environment from mining activities is water contamination from the chemical processes of acid rock drainage and heavy metal and non-metal leaching. Once these processes begin, they can continue indefinitely. In some cases, the only solution is water treatment and monitoring – in perpetuity – which can cost millions of dollars a year.

MEM and MoE’s compliance and enforcement activities of the mining sector are inadequate to protect the province from significant environmental risks.

The potential impacts of this ineffective regulatory regime are;

  • increased risks to the environment and the potential for deterioration of the province’s water systems
  • loss of wildlife habitat
  • damage to culturally significant areas and values.

While both MEM and MoE have created guidance documents and worked with stakeholders to promote compliance, neither ministry could demonstrate that its activities and guidance materials were effective in achieving voluntary compliance or government’s environmental outcomes.

Find full report here.