Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Alaska raises its concerns over BC Mining oversight

BC mining operations near Alaska
watersheds have Alaska government
officials wary of BC oversight
The topic of watching over the mining sector in the province isn't just part of the discussion at the British Columbia Legislature, the neighbours to the north in Alaska have taken notice of some of the recent concerns and voiced a few notes of interest of their own in recent weeks.

The renewed concern from Alaska came with the delivery last week of a report on the mining sector from the province's Auditor General department.

In the Audit of Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector, the Auditor General in effect gave the Province a failing grade when it comes to protecting the environment when it comes to mining and exploration projects.

The report highlighted some of the major gaps in resources, planning and tools when it comes to monitoring and inspection of mines in the province, noting in its opening statement how: "We found almost every one of our expectations for a robust compliance and enforcement program within the MEM and MOE were not met"

However in a statement following the delivery of the report, the Province while accepting all of the recommendations from the Office of the Auditor General report, took issue with some of the findings from the overview.

Government does not, at this time, agree with the OAG’s main recommendation to reorganize the Ministry of Energy and Mines compliance and enforcement programs into a separate ministry or agency. This recommendation suggests that the public servants in the Ministry of Energy and Mines are incapable of differentiating between promotion, and regulation of mining, a view government does not share.

British Columbia's Mines and Energy Minister Bill Bennett did make note however that the government will be acting on all 43 recommendations.

The full report from the Office of the Auditor General can be reviewed here.

Alaska picked up on the theme of that report last week and has expressed its own interest in how decisions related to the mining industry in British Columbia may impact on waters that are shared or flow into Alaskan territory.

Ketchikan's public radio station KRBD offered up this report on the mining controversy from the Alaska point of view just over the A/B line.

Other notes on the concerns from Alaska can be found below:

Alaska raises concerns with BC's mining oversight after audit
Doing mining differently up north
Auditor General Blasts 'Major Gaps' in BCs mining oversight
Lax mine regulation in British Columbia: A threat to Southeast Alaska Salmon?

Last week North Coast MLA Jennifer Rice raised issues related to the Banks Island Gold Mine south of Prince Rupert, noting concerns from the Gitxaala First Nation when it comes to government remediation plans for the mining site.

For more items related to mining in British Columbia see our archive page here.

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