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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Natural resource policy, law and administration with respect to mineral exploration in British Columbia Hogg, James Lauder Ettrick

Abstract

Increasing pressures on British Columbia’s natural resources have led to a greater concern for overall planning of resource development in the Province. Good inventory data are essential for efficient planning, and, while this can he obtained relatively easily for most renewable resources, mineral resources present a serious problem because they cannot be readily identified. This has led to a general lack of consideration of the mining industry in natural resource planning. While the impact of mining upon the environment has been well documented, little effort has been made to determine what effects are attributable to mineral exploration. This shortcoming is very important because mineral exploration is unique among inventory processes in that, although it does not generally involve the use of surface resources on a large scale, it does involve occupancy and use of the land surface. Thus, because free miners may enter upon almost any land in the Province for the purpose of mineral exploration, there will be widespread interaction with other resource users. In this study, the nature of mineral exploration associated with hard-rock metal mining in British Columbia and its impact upon the environment described. Interactions with the traditional extractive industries such as forestry and ranching are discussed, and actual and potential sources of conflict are pinpointed. Attention is given to the possible need to withdraw land from mineral exploration in order to protect watershed, recreational, aesthetic and ecological values. There is almost no literature that deals specifically with the interaction of mineral exploration with other resources, and so it was necessary to gather information from individuals in government and industry who are directly involved with resource planning, administration and management in British Columbia. Attention is given to land-use regulation as it might be applied to mineral exploration. While reference is made to the possibility of introducing alternative forms of mineral tenure, the study was developed on the basis of the present system of mineral tenures because of the probability of widespread opposition by certain sections of the mining industry would appear to make any substantial change unlikely in the immediate future. It is concluded that, if the rights and responsibilities of all individuals are clearly defined and rigidly enforced, mineral exploration in British Columbia can co-exist with most forms of resource management. However, the mining industry must be brought into any discussions on resource policy and planning, because it is only through a mutual awareness of each other's problems and objectives that common ground can be found to settle operational problems and yet achieve the objectives which, in the long-term, will benefit the people of British Columbia.

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