UBC Undergraduate Research

The need for the modernization of mineral tenure in British Columbia Lindsay, Alexandra


The Mineral Tenure Act in British Columbia is in need of revision. Free-entry access gives priority of lands to mining purposes, which reflects the principles of the society at the time of creation, when British Columbia was undergoing settlement. Over a hundred years later, the values of the province have changed, however the mineral tenure legislation has not modernized with them. Especially in recent years, this failure has caused conflicts across the province for miners and private land owners, for effective land-use planning, and for lands of environmental and First Nations concerns. The 10 Core Principles of the Green Party of BC aim to fairly balance aspects of economic, social, and environmental sustainability, and therefore can act as a basic framework for evaluating revisions to the Mineral Tenure Act that will comply with the values of British Columbians today and into the future. Amendments to mineral tenure legislation should primarily focus on abolishing the free-entry system. Further modifications, following the model of the recently revised mineral tenure legislation in Ontario, should aim to create a longterm mineral strategy plan, to allow protection of culturally significant land to First Nations as well as of sensitive ecosystems, and to require adequate environmental assessments for all mining activities.

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