MAC: Mines and Communities

Canada: British Columbia’s mining dirty secrets, report

Published by MAC on 2021-05-17
Source: BC Mining Law Reform Network

Network promotes changes to mineral development laws and mining practices.

Founded in 2019, the BC Mining Law Reform Network promotes changes to mineral development laws and mining practices to ensure they are environmentally sound, do not pollute waters, respect community decisions, and account for the costs to clean up toxic mine waste sites.

The network today represents nearly 30 local, provincial and national organizations from a wide range of sectors, including citizen and community groups, First Nations, academics, and social justice and environmental organizations.

The “Dirty Dozen” are the most concerning mines and mine sites in B.C., but they represent only a small portion of the over 100 contaminated and risky mines sites around the province.

The “Dirty Dozen” full report is available here.

A map of contaminated mine sites in B.C. can be seen here.

Check also:

2021-02-26 British Columbia’s ongoing legacy of metal mine impacts, report
2020-11-07 British Columbia Pension Fund and Equinox Gold urged to respect communities at Mexico mine
2013-06-17 Opposing Fortune's Coal Mine In British Columbia's Sacred Headwaters
2010-11-29 First Nations roadblock temporarily halts work at British Columbia mine
2010-02-23 British Columbia Bans Mining, Drilling in Flathead River Valley

Revealed: The Dirty Secrets Behind B.C.’s Claim to Be a World-Class Mining Jurisdiction – New Report

May 17, 2021

British Columbia’s aim to become a choice supplier of metals and minerals needed to build a greener global economy will fail unless laws are changed, according to a new report released today. Legal reform and better enforcement are needed to force B.C. mining companies to live up to the claim that they are world leaders in social and environmental responsibility.

The report, produced by SkeenaWild and the BC Mining Law Reform network, highlights risks to the health and safety of communities and the environment from 12 B.C. mines – the “Dirty Dozen”.

“Our report shows there is still a gap between the rosy picture the B.C. government and the mining industry are trying to promote and what is actually happening on the ground. By permitting these risks and pollution issues to continue, the government is putting the mining industry itself at risk as more and more purchasers around the world shift to socially and environmentally responsible sourcing,” says Nikki Skuce, co-chair of the BC Mining Law Reform network.

The report shows risky mines and mine proposals litter the province. Abandoned mines continue to leak toxic runoff into waterways and the cost of clean-up, if it happens, is likely to be shouldered by B.C. taxpayers because mining companies are not compelled to provide financial guarantees to cover these costs, as happens in other mining jurisdictions.

“Mines tend to be in remote locations and most British Columbians are probably unaware of the damage many of them do to the environment and the risk they pose to local communities. Our report is a wake-up call for government and the public at large. The current situation cannot continue,” says Greg Knox, Executive Director, SkeenaWild.

The report points to solutions for improving the mines to prevent these problems from recurring. Many of these solutions are being echoed by scientists, engineers, organizations, First Nations, and political leaders alike. B.C. still needs to fully implement the expert recommendations for improving tailings safety that were issued in response to the catastrophic Mount Polley tailings dam collapse. There is yet to be a strategy for closing and cleaning up abandoned mines. A commitment to ensuring the polluter pays has yet to be implemented.

“British Columbians understand the importance of mining, but they want it done responsibly. For that, we need smarter policy that protects environmental and social values. It is frustrating watching the government drag their heels on making some of these changes that are both recommended by experts around the world and already being implemented in other mining jurisdictions,” says Adrienne Berchtold, Ecologist & Mining Impacts Researcher, SkeenaWild.

All 12 mines on the list threaten local environments and communities across B.C. but are usually operating within B.C. laws and regulations which, in many cases, fail to meet the demands of an increasingly discerning global market and investor base. The report urges that if the recommended solutions are pursued, many of the “Dirty Dozen” could be removed from the list in future years, and B.C. could move closer to being a leading jurisdiction for responsible mining as we address climate change and move to a more sustainable energy future.

Report Backgrounder:

Re information, contact:

Adrienne Berchtold,, 778-887-0634

Nikki Skuce,, 778-210-0117

Greg Knox,, 250-615-1990


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