Mount Polley disaster behind provincial safety upgrades, B.C. mines minister says – by Canadian Press (Globe and Mail – February 25, 2019)

British Columbia’s Mines Minister says the Mount Polley tailings pond collapse is behind changes to increase safety and regulation enforcement in provincial mining operations.

Michelle Mungall said Monday the government will spend $20 million over the next three years to hire 65 safety and enforcement officials and improve the mine permit approval process in an effort encourage investment.

She said the changes were based on the results in the Mining Jobs Task Force report which made 25 recommendations to improve mine safety for workers and the environment, while spurring investment.

“The Mining Jobs Task Force came in and said that is very important and this is how we need to be doing it,” she said. “That’s exactly what this announcement is about. We’re making sure situations like Mount Polley are more preventable going into the future because we’re going to have more boots on the ground.”

B.C. auditor general Carol Bellringer recommended in a separate report after the dam’s collapse that the Mines Ministry separate its enforcement and compliance division and make it independent from the permitting office, Ms. Mungall said.

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