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Risky business: Improving the mine reclamation regime in British Columbia

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Mine reclamation is considered an integral part of mine closure and is imperative to the conservation of land, watersheds, and natural habitats. British Columbia was one of the first jurisdictions in Canada to adopt mine reclamation legislation and has since expanded its reclamation regime. However, the province has experienced some of the largest environmental mining disasters in Canada and continues to have insufficient safeguards to ensure sustainable mine closure. Several studies have explored financial assurance as a solution to this issue, but few have evaluated the benefits of preventative efforts adopted during the mine planning process. This study attempts to fill this gap by evaluating pollution prevention policies in other mining jurisdictions and identifying options to enhance reclamation outcomes in BC’s mining industry. Three policy options are considered: prohibiting mines with perpetual water treatment, strengthening regulations on tailings storage facilities, and introducing a funding program aimed at mining innovation.
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