New bill gives more clarity and flexibility in assessment process says mining association head
The head of the Mining Association of Canada says the hotly contested federal environmental assessment bill is welcome in the industry it will affect the most.
“This promises to be a better system than what we’ve had for the last seven years,” said Pierre Gratton, the president of the association.
Bill C-69 overhauls Canada’s environmental assessment regime for major national resource and transportation projects but the high-octane opposition from the oil and gas sector has drowned out much of the comment from other affected industries.
While the bill affects interprovincial pipelines, oilsands projects, offshore oil projects and oil refineries, it also applies to hydro dams, natural-gas power plants, the construction or decommissioning of military bases and airports, and most commonly, mines.
Since 2012, when the existing Canadian Environmental Assessment Act came into effect under the former Conservative government, Gratton said as many as 60 per cent of assessments have applied to mines producing things like diamonds, gold, zinc and copper. “That cohort has felt consistently that C-69 represented an improvement on the status quo,” Gratton said.
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