In November 2011, an amendment to the Mines Act was passed to enable cabinet to establish class exemptions for permits.
Currently, permits are required for all mine-related activities including some small-scale mineral exploration activities that are low-risk and cause little-to-no health, safety or environmental concerns. While inspectors are able to grant individual exemptions, each application must be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. This process is time-consuming and takes away from reviewing and inspecting mine-related activities that do pose some potential for health, safety or environmental risk.
In order to determine which activities will be eligible for these exemptions, the Province is posting a public discussion paper and feedback form for the public to comment on the suggested low-risk exemptions.
In developing regulations to exempt low-risk activities from Mines Act permitting, the following goals were considered:
1. Enable the Province to concentrate inspector resources on higher-risk activities with respect to environmental protection, health and safety.
2. Reduce the regulatory burden on proponents of low-risk activities.
3. Ensure the Province maintains its exemplary health-and-safety record for mining activities through registering all exempt activities so they can be inspected under the Mines Act for compliance with the act and the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code.
The discussion paper outlines information on mining activities being considered for exemption, and will provide an opportunity for public feedback.
Further information and a link to the discussion paper can be found at: http://www.empr.gov.bc.ca/Mining/Strategy2012/Pages/Streamlining.aspx
Ministry of Energy and Mines