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The Mining Association of British Columbia has reacted to Wildsight’s claims on reclamation bonding policies calling it an inaccurate portrayal that is designed to portray the industry in a negative light.

Wildsight funded an independent report claiming that Teck underestimated the cost of partially cleaning up water pollution from its Elk Valley mines by billions of dollars, leaving taxpayers on the line to cover the gap. Most recently Wildsight published survey results by Research Co. and suggested that the province continues to heavily subsidize the mining industry with exploration tax credits, lower carbon taxes and other ‘incentive’ schemes and that Kootenay residents say polluters need to pay.

polluters need to pay

Michael Goehring, President and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) made the following statement on a poll commissioned by Wildsight regarding BC’s Reclamation and Bonding Policy.

“Wildsight’s recent poll on reclamation bonding policies in British Columbia (BC) presents an inaccurate portrayal of the industry. The questions within the poll were crafted to yield responses that are skewed to align with Wildsight’s agenda, and designed to cast a negative light on the industry. The questions also fail to provide participants with a comprehensive and factual understanding of how mining companies continuously invest in reclamation and remediation throughout their operations. For example, one of the poll questions incorrectly implies the BC government sets the financial guarantees or bonding values by using estimates from mining companies. However, under the Mines Act, the chief permitting officer has the power to decide the amount and form of reclamation security for mine permit holders.

“BC’s reclamation security policy mandates substantial bonding requirements for major mines that surpass those of most other global jurisdictions. This ensures mine operators cover the full costs of the environmental reclamation obligations associated with mine closure, at no cost to taxpayers. Since 2015, BC mining companies have significantly increased the reclamation security amount held by the provincial government by over $2.7 billion, bringing the total to over $3.7 billion. We expect to close the gap between the estimated reclamation liability and reclamation security within two years. The BC mining industry strongly supports a bonding policy that assures the general public, local communities, and Indigenous Nations that mining operations will undergo proper reclamation and restoration upon closure.

“Additionally, it’s important to note the significant reforms implemented by the BC government over the past decade to modernize and strengthen mining laws and regulations. These reforms include implementing a new BC Mines Act, a revised Health, Safety and Reclamation Code and a new major mines reclamation security policy to ensure sufficient funds for the environmental restoration of closed mines without burdening taxpayers.”

The Mining Association of British Columbia is the voice of British Columbia’s steelmaking coal, metal and mineral producers, smelters and advanced development companies. The mining industry benefits all British Columbians and supports more than 35,000 jobs and over 3,900 small, medium and Indigenous affiliated businesses in every corner of the province through an annual spend of $3.7 billion on goods and services. Their members’ products have among the lowest carbon footprints globally and are helping the world transition to a cleaner, low-carbon future; safely and responsibly.

Wildsight works to address many of the current challenges facing the environment from the mining industry and strives to be a leader in bringing science to the forefront of public discourse and policy advocacy.

Crown Mountain Coking Coal

Recently Wildsight commented that Elk Valley cannot risk worsening what is already a dire environmental crisis with another Elk Valley coal mine. NWP Coal Canada’s proposed Crown Mountain coal mine passed another stage of review with the provincial and federal governments and has now entered the public feedback period.

Wildsight’s current lobbying efforts focus on Teck’s proposed sale of its Elk Valley coal mines to Glencore and influencing the Federal Government’s approval process. Wildsight has expressed concerns that Glencore, a mining company with a questionable environmental record, acquiring the mines could exacerbate the existing water pollution issues in the Elk and Kootenay Rivers.

We’ll see what transpires as the deal to purchase Glencore is expected to conclude in the coming months.

For updates and news on the proposed sale and Elk Valley mining follow Elk Valley Coal on Facebook.

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