MiningWatch Canada, Friends of Clayoquot Sound, David Suzuki Foundation and Rivers Without Borders have released a list of Top 40 Mining Reforms urgently needed in BC in order to limit the destructiveness of mining on the environment and communities, and to reduce land use conflicts.
BC’s antiquated mineral tenure laws, dating from the 1850s, allow for “free entry” whereby mineral claims can be staked and take precedence just about anywhere, including private property and most public lands (except for the 13% in parks or other protected
Ranking high among the recommended reforms:
- Requiring free and informed consent of First Nations before staking, exploration or mining can happen.
- Identifying ecologically important areas that should be off-limits to all mining activity — for example Biosphere Reserves.
Clayoquot Sound is a good example of why mining reform is needed in BC. Although it’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, Imperial Metals has been exploratory drilling for copper on Catface Mountain since 2008. The company has also applied to explore near the old Fandora gold mine, in south Clayoquot, to assess re-opening it. This exploration is against the wishes of Tla-o-qui-aht First Nation.
With a BC election coming up, there’s a good opportunity to put mining reform on the provincial agenda.
For the full list of Top 40 mining reforms, click here.
For a shocking description of how primitive our existing mining law is, read this editorial by Sierra Club BC and West Coast Environmental Law.