Code Review

In July 2015, Minister of Energy and Mines Bill Bennett appointed a committee to review the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia, pursuant to section 34 of the Mines Act.

The Code Review Committee was appointed to determine how best to implement the 26 recommendations made in the reports of the Independent Expert Engineering Panel and the Chief Inspector of Mines following their investigations into the August 4, 2014 tailings breach at the Mount Polley Mine.

The Code Review Committee was chaired by the Chief Inspector of Mines and included an equal number of representatives nominated by First Nations, mine labour unions and industry. The review consisted of three separate committees: an overarching Code Review Committee and two sub-committees that provided technical reviews for the tailings storage facilities (TSFs) and the health and safety portions of the Code.

Health and Safety Technical Review

The Health and Safety portion of the code review is now complete.

Tailings Technical Review

The TSF portion of the code review is complete and revisions came into force in July 2016. Updates to TSF regulations include enhanced validation of safety and regulation of all phases of a TSF (all mines in BC with TSFs must have an Independent Tailings Review Board) and improved dam safety guidelines.

Jurisdictional Review: Comparison of Mining Legislation and Guidelines in British Columbia, Alaska and Montana

Following the July 2016 updates to the TSF portion of the Code, the Ministry of Energy and Mines commissioned international engineering, geoscience and environmental consulting firm Klohn Crippen Berger to complete a third-party comparison of mining legislation and guidelines in British Columbia, Montana and Alaska. The comparison found B.C.’s requirements for mining to be equal to or more stringent than those in Montana or Alaska.

Best Available Technology

Further information on the discussion of best available technology (BAT) is available in letters provided by Dirk van Zyl, a member of the independent expert engineering panel that conducted the investigation into the Mount Polley tailings breach.