Managing Waste from Mining & Smelting
The discharges from mining and smelting industries are typically in the form of liquid effluent, solid waste and air emissions. Regulating and enforcing how these kinds of waste discharges are managed will help to protect the environment and human health.
In addition to regulating the mining sector, there are responsibilities for regulating/authorizing the quantity and quality of any discharge of waste to the environment from activities relating to mining and the exploration of:
- Industrial mineral ores (such as diamonds)
- Beneficiating mineral ores (e.g. custom milling)
Read the Mining Operations Fact Sheet (PDF) for more information on mining authorizations.
A collection of fact sheets and technical guidance are available to assist with mining operations.
- Memorandum of Understanding - Regulation of Impoundments and Diversions on a Mine Site – 2013 (PDF)
The purpose of this memorandum is to define the role of the natural resource ministries in the siting, design, construction, operation, maintenance, abandonment, reclamation, and regulation of impoundments and diversions on a mine site, in order to protect the public, the environment and the users of water in the affected watershed.
- Rock Drain Agreement Regarding the Joint Administration and Regulation of the Mining Industry – 1991 (PDF)
A rock drain is a valley or head of hollow fill constructed through the placement of mine waste rock in and about water courses, whether permanent or ephemeral, in such a manner that stream-flow will pass through the mine waste rock. It is the Province's intention that development should preserve natural stream courses.
The Placer Mining Waste Control Regulation (the Regulation) under the Environmental Management Act has been in place since 1989 and broadly authorizes waste discharges associated with placer mining operations across the province of British Columbia.
The Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, in collaboration with the Taku River Tlingit First Nation and the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources has proposed changes to the Regulation. These changes are specifically focused on 14 streams in the areas of Atlin and Dease Lake.