The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation has released an interim policy on mine reclamation bonding, detailing the financial security mines are required to pay up front to cover the costs of reclamation. This is a significant step in the right direction toward encouraging mining companies to minimize the environmental damage they cause, and to reduce public liability to cover the costs of clean up, which was last reported at $1.1 billion.
Given that this is an interim policy and that the government is engaged in a broader Public Interest Bonding Strategy, we hope to see this policy codified into regulation to improve compliance, build public confidence, and ensure a level playing field for all mining companies. We also hope that it addresses any gaps identified by Indigenous authorities who have long advocated for mines to be held responsible for the messes they create. In particular, they have advocated for a public fund, secured through a levy on production or existing royalty mechanisms, to help cover outstanding reclamation and catastrophic event costs.
For further reading:
- BCMLR’s overview of the interim Mines Reclamation Security Policy
- Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Information Bulletin
- Major Mines Reclamation Security Policy (Interim)