Important Environmental Regulatory Reviews and Health & Safety Update

Cutting to the core of mineral exploration, Core Matters gives you an inside look at the most important topics in our industry.

Important Environmental Regulatory Reviews and Health & Safety Update

September 1, 2016

Situation
Following last year’s federal election result, and the provincial Auditor General’s report, both governments are currently reviewing environmental procedures and regulations with a view to strengthening protections and enhancing public confidence in regard to environment, health and safety. Protecting the environment and health and safety are very important to AME members. Your input into government’s reviews is critical so that any potential changes contemplated to regulations will also result in more timely and cost-effective decision-making and improved procedures for the mineral exploration and development industry.

What’s really happening

Federal Environmental Assessment Process Review
AME members should know that the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change has established an Expert Panel to review federal environmental assessment (EA) processes. AME will be presenting to the federal EA Expert Panel on December 12, 2016. The Expert Panel intends to engage broadly with Indigenous people, key stakeholders and all Canadians. The EA process could be revised as a result of this review so it is important for you to learn about your opportunities to participate and share your views. To learn how, click on the following linkshttp://eareview-examenee.ca/ and http://eareview-examenee.ca/Participate/presentations-to-the-panel/.

Provincial Government Consultation on Administrative Monetary Penalties
The BC government has established a Deputy Ministers Mining Compliance and Enforcement Board to oversee compliance and enforcement planning across BC with a key focus on environmental protection following the BC Auditor General’s May 2016 report (see here at An Audit of Compliance and Enforcement of the Mining Sector). In March 2016, the Legislative Assembly of BC had also passed Bill 8: Mines Amendment Act, 2016 to enable the development of an administrative monetary penalty (AMP) program under the Mines Act. The government is currently consulting the industry and public about the development of the AMP program. The AMP program is important to everyone involved in the industry, from prospectors and explorers to mine builders and suppliers. Please read the AMP discussion paper released by the Ministry of Energy and Mines here and submit your comments to Tania Demchuk, Deputy Chief Inspector, Compliance and Enforcement, with the BC Ministry of Energy and Mines by October 11, 2016.

Health and Safety Update
As a core value, health and safety is always the number one priority for AME members. As markets pick up and exploration activities levels increase, AME’s Environment, Health & Safety (EHS) Committee is working proactively on training initiatives to help members to review, learn about, and implement new or improved health and safety practices. In partnership with the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), AME’s EHS committee’s recent efforts have focused on developing an online helicopter slinging training tool that will be released for public use in the fall of 2016. AME’s EHS committee is also hosting the Environment, Health & Safety Awards Breakfast on January 25, 2017, during AME’s Roundup 2017 conference “Gearing Up for Discovery” where results from the 11th annual Canadian Mineral Exploration Health & Safety Survey will be announced.

What action AME is taking
In addition to reviewing and providing recommendations on government’s regulatory reviews cited above, AME and partner organizations such as PDAC are busy reminding members about the importance of keeping environment, health and safety a priority as exploration activity increases. And as always, AME encourages everyone to have a “safe day, every day” by usingAME’s Safety Guidelines and helpful tools and resources (click here for other resources) to develop your own programs to regularly discuss environment, health and safety at meetings in the field, office and boardroom.
Action that you or your organization can take
AME members are encouraged to participate in the federal environmental assessment processes review, as well as providing input into the BC government’s AMP program to ensure that regulatory enforcement encourages responsible exploration, while acknowledging the generally low-impact, temporary and safe nature of exploration and development programs. In addition, please inform us of any environment, health and safety incidents or examples that we could share proactively with other members to help prevent a similar incident from occurring elsewhere. You can send any examples, comments or concerns to Rick Conte, AME’s Executive Vice President, at rconte@amebc.ca.