British Columbia Mines Act

Last updated: 7 December 2023

The Mines Act, administered by the Ministry of Energy, Mines, and Low Carbon Innovation, and the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia (the Code), are established to protect workers, the public, and the environment from risks associated with mining activities. The legislation mandates that major mining projects, including new mines, expansions, and significant exploration initiatives, secure approval as outlined in part 10 of the Code.

Under the Act, parties such as owners or managers are required to obtain a permit from the chief permitting officer before starting any mining-related activity. This process includes the submission of detailed plans and programmes for conserving cultural heritage resources and for the protection and reclamation of lands and watercourses affected by mining.

The Act allows for exemptions from these permit requirements for certain classes of persons or types of work, with the chief permitting officer holding the authority to impose permits for exempt individuals if necessary. The officer can also set conditions on exemptions, encompassing security provision, reporting, environmental protection, and public health and safety. Non-compliance with these conditions can lead to penalties.

The chief permitting officer is empowered to set conditions for permit issuance, including requirements for mine reclamation and protection of watercourses and cultural heritage resources. The permittee is required to provide annual security to ensure compliance with permit conditions and directives from the chief permitting officer or an inspector.

The Act permits revisions or extensions of permit terms and allows the chief permitting officer to impose additional conditions or changes. If there is non-compliance with the Code, regulations, or permit conditions, the chief inspector has the authority to take actions such as stopping mining operations, closing the mine, or cancelling the permit.

Want to know more about this policy ? Learn more