VICTORIA – B.C. New Democrats introduced legislation that would help restore confidence in the mining industry by requiring mining reports and notices to be publicly accessible.
“In the aftermath of the Mount Polley tailings dam failure, the public rightfully demanded to know what happened, but very little public information about the mine was available,” said New Democrat energy and mines spokesperson Norm Macdonald.
“British Columbians have discovered that information about the state of mines in B.C. isn’t readily available.” said Macdonald. “The B.C. Liberals have only made things worse by refusing to release documents from Mount Polley like dam inspection reports and safety reviews.”
Macdonald noted that the public only learned about past problems with the tailings dam at Mount Polley because a reporter found documents filed in the library at Williams Lake. Most other mines in B.C. have no requirement to file reports publicly.
Macdonald introduced The British Columbia Open Mining Act in the legislature on Thursday. If enacted, the bill would amend the Mines Act to require these reports be filed in a manner accessible to the public.
“We know that British Columbians support the sustainable development of our natural resources, but when the public loses confidence that environmental values are supported, they lose confidence in the industry as a whole,” Macdonald said. “Making these filings more easily accessible will restore confidence in the industry.
“The government is responsible for making sure mining is done in a safe and sustainable manner. This bill would be a strong step in the right direction.”