Province ordered to replace system with one that ensures consultation with Indigenous communities
The B.C. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the province’s mining permit system is unconstitutional. The province’s current system, at issue in the case, automatically grants mineral claims to industry applicants who submit a request through a government website.
Tuesday’s ruling found that process violates First Nations rights. It ordered B.C. to replace the system with one that ensures input and consultation with Indigenous communities on whose territories mining permits are granted.
“Establishing an online system allowing automatic registration of mineral claims in their territories, without creating a system for consultation, breaches the obligations of the Crown,” wrote Justice Alan Ross in his 148-page decision.
“The fault in the system lies, not in the granting of individual mineral claims, but in the higher-level decision making relating to the [Chief Gold Commissioner]’s discretion to consult with First Nations.” Ross gave the government a year and a half to replace its current system, but said his ruling does not affect any currently approved mines.