Canada’s mining industry learned from Mount Polley tailings dam disaster – by Pierre Gratton (Vancouver Sun – May 23, 2018)

Pierre Gratton is President & CEO of The Mining Association of Canada.

I was pleased to read the column by Jacinda Mack and Loretta Williams in which they acknowledge the vital role minerals and metals will play in the transition to a low carbon economy.

B.C. products like metallurgical coal, copper and molybdenum are all critical to the supply of renewable energy technologies and zero-emission vehicles. B.C. and the rest of Canada’s mining sector have every reason to be a major, responsible supplier of these products to the world.

I also agree with their sentiment that there is an obligation on B.C.’s mining sector to provide these products responsibly. They call for stronger regulation of mines and for the adoption of industry standards, such as the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance, or IRMA. Here is where I can provide some important additional information on both topics.

After the Mount Polley tailings dam failure, the Mining Association of Canada undertook a comprehensive review of Canada’s tailings management standards. We struck an independent, multi-stakeholder task force, which included First Nation and NGO representatives, to review MAC’s guides, as well as the performance criteria embedded in the Towards Sustainable Mining initiative (TSM).

TSM is a program launched by MAC almost 15 years ago that requires our members to evaluate and independently assure performance against a range of performance indicators, including in areas such as tailings management, biodiversity conservation and Indigenous engagement.

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