These are 11 of B.C.’s most ‘polluting and risky’ mines – by Francesca Fionda (The Narwhal – May 25, 2023)


Mining is big business in B.C. and it’s an industry that produces a lot of waste. A new report highlights 11 mines of concern and what’s stopping the province from getting them to clean up their acts

Chief Francis Laceese of Tl’esqox describes the Gibraltar mine as a “disaster waiting to happen.” Located about 60 kilometres north of Williams Lake, B.C., it’s the fourth-largest open-pit mine in North America. Laceese’s Tsilqot’in community, Tl’esqox, is directly downstream.

The Gibraltar copper mine is among B.C.’s most polluting and high risk mines, according to a report released today by SkeenaWild Conservation Trust and BC Mining Law Reform Network. Eleven mines are listed based on their proven or probable impacts to the environment, unsafe management of tailings waste, non-compliance with environmental permits and violations of Indigenous Rights.

“A lot of them have significant issues with safely managing tailings or other mine waste and water contamination from the site,” lead author and researcher Adrienne Berchtold told The Narwhal. Berchtold is an ecologist and mining researcher for SkeenaWild Conservation Trust.

The report also highlights a number of key regulatory issues around how mine waste is managed and the increasing size of tailings storage facilities allowed by the government. The report titled, Dirty Dozen 2023: B.C.’s top polluting and risky mines, names the province’s free-entry system for mineral staking as the 12th case.

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