B.C. should demand miners pay cleanup costs up front: Indigenous study (Canadian Press/CTV News – November 7, 2019)

https://www.ctvnews.ca/

VANCOUVER — A report is urging British Columbia to get better financial guarantees that mining companies will pay for the mess they make. The First Nations who commissioned the study say that if the government doesn’t do it, they will.

“There’s clearly a recognition by the government and the courts that we have ownership and lands and we have jurisdiction and authority,” said Allen Edzerza of the B.C. First Nations Energy and Mining Council. “What this report is suggesting is that maybe they should exercise some of that authority.”

The province is reviewing the rules by which it ensures that taxpayers aren’t stuck with the costs of cleaning up or caring for abandoned mines. The report points to several recent examples of the government being left to pay the costs, including at least $500,000 at one old gold mine.

Current legislation requires companies to put up more assets towards the end of a mine’s life. But the assets often depend, directly or indirectly, on the company’s value or on commodity prices.

B.C.’s auditor general recently concluded that the costs of mine cleanups exceed the surety held by the government by $1.4 billion. That leaves the public at risk even with good-faith operators, said Jason Dion, a consultant who wrote the report.

For the rest of this article: https://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/b-c-should-demand-miners-pay-cleanup-costs-up-front-indigenous-study-1.4673930

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