Mining Compliance & Enforcement

The Province of British Columbia is committed to integrated oversight of the mining sector.

Government has established a Deputy Ministers Mining Compliance and Enforcement (C&E) Board to oversee C&E planning across B.C. in all aspects of mineral exploration and development, with a key focus on environmental protection. The mandate includes overseeing strategic improvements that enhance C&E effectiveness through integration and co-ordination of planning, training, policies, procedures, tools, evaluation and public reporting for mines in B.C. The Mining C&E Board will also ensure greater integration between the Ministry of Energy and Mines, the Ministry of Environment, the Environmental Assessment Office and other agencies. The Board oversees government’s implementation of the recommendations from the B.C. Auditor General’s May 2016 report “An Audit of Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector”

BC Mining Compliance and Enforcement Strategic Plan

Developed by the Mining C&E Board, the BC Mining Compliance and Enforcement Strategic Plan outlines government’s vision for mining oversight in the province of British Columbia.  The plan reflects government’s commitment to ensuring that BC’s mining regulatory framework is integrated and effective.

Implementing Recommendations

The August 4, 2014 tailings storage facility (TSF) breach at the Mount Polley mine immediately triggered two statutory investigations in British Columbia, one by the Chief Inspector of Mines (CIM) and one by the Conservation Officer Service (COS). In addition, on August 18, 2014, Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett announced, with the support of First Nations, that an independent investigation and inquiry would be conducted by a panel of three mine engineering experts. On January 30, 2015, the independent expert engineering panel concluded its investigation and made seven recommendations. On December 17, 2015, the CIM presented the findings of his investigation and made 19 recommendations. The COS investigation is ongoing.

The Province has completed implementation of all recommendations resulting from the independent expert engineering panel’s investigation into the Mount Polley TSF breach and has also made significant progress on implementing the recommendations of the CIM and Auditor General. July 2016 updates to the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia, along with new site characterization guidelines from the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of British Columbia, address the independent panel’s seven recommendations as outlined in Backgrounder 1 (PDF, 353KB).

Other Mining C&E Initiatives

The new BC Mine Information website, which was launched in April 2016, makes information on permitted major mine sites in BC more accessible. Information posted to date includes permits and amendments, inspection reports, and dam safety inspections/reviews for major mines. Work to add more information is ongoing, and this site will eventually deliver a comprehensive picture of government‘s integrated oversight of the mining sector.

Recent changes to the Mines Act enable the Province to include administrative monetary penalties as a more flexible, responsive C&E tool. The legislation also increases existing penalties available for court prosecutions under the act. The maximum penalties were raised from $100,000 and/or up to one year imprisonment to $1 million and/or up to three years imprisonment.

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