Towards results-based standards for mine reclamation in British Columbia Errington, John
British Columbia's reclamation legislation has been in place since it was first enacted in 1969, when existing mining legislation was amended, requiring reclamation for major coal mines and hardrock mineral mines. As part of British Columbia's commitment to improving its investment climate, all ministries have been asked to develop standards that are clear and results-based. Standards for mine reclamation are currently set out in Part 10 of the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia (Code). These standards define mine reclamation and include provision for returning the land and watercourses to a productive land use, ensuring that impoundment structures and waste rock dumps are stable over the long-term, and ensuring that water quality released from a minesite is of an acceptable standard. The reclamation standards are, in many respects, already results-based and the issue is how to improve the existing system rather than implementing an entirely new system. Currently, an internal-to-government Code Review has commenced and will conclude its work by the 2003 spring session of the Legislature. This paper will review the history of reclamation regulations, explore the implications of results-based reclamation standards, and discuss possible directions for regulatory reform.
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