CANADIAN PRESS – Ottawa is keeping appropriate track of how Canada’s mining industry releases effluent into the country’s waterways, but nobody’s responsible for fixing problems when they are discovered, says the federal environment commissioner.
“When environmental effects were found, there was no requirement on anybody’s part to actually have to do anything,” Julie Gelfand said in an audit released Tuesday. “Nobody actually seems to have to deal with the issue.”
The audit found other gaps. Environment Canada didn’t have adequate information for about one-third of Canada’s metal mines. The department completed only two-thirds of its planned inspections for non-metals operations, such as coal or oilsands mines.
As well, it only monitored about 60 per cent of company-filed plans to compensate for fish habitat lost to tailings ponds. “As a result, the department did not always know whether the mining companies performed their planned actions to offset the loss of fish and their habitat,” the audit said.
Gelfand’s report said potash, coal and oilsands mines should be inspected more often. She also raised concerns about lower overall mine inspections in Ontario.