Mineral exploration and development have a low physical impact on the local environment when compared to other industrial activities, and over the past 50 years, AME members have worked with governments and other user groups to ensure that low-impact mineral exploration activities may occur in a variety of landscapes while respecting the physical environment.

All mineral exploration work programs are subject to posting of reclamation security with the province that is returned following successful restoration of a site to its former condition. In recognition of the low impact of mineral exploration programs on the physical environment, mineral exploration projects are allowed to divert water for mineral exploration activities without a permit in most cases under the Water Sustainability Act.

AME actively works with the provincial government to ensure that legislation regarding the environment recognizes the low impact of mineral exploration on the physical environment – resulting in resources such as the Mineral and Coal Exploration Handbook and legislation including regulations to the Water Sustainability Act that specifically address water use in mineral exploration.

Guiding Principles

The Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME) recognizes that for present and future generations environmental stewardship is a fundamental cornerstone of a safe, modern, and sustainable mineral exploration and mining sector.

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In conducting their activities, AME members should strive to:

  1. Develop environmental protection plans and management systems that identify environmental impacts and mitigation measures, and that include monitoring, follow-up, emergency planning, auditing, and reporting.
  2. Conduct and report on environmental activities in a transparent manner including assessments, evaluations and baseline studies.
  3. Comply with all applicable permits, environmental laws, and regulations at a minimum. Wherever possible, and in the absence of specific regulations, use leading environmental management practices that will prevent or reduce environmental impacts.
  4. Plan for reclamation during the design of exploration programs and carry-out reclamation as soon as practicable using appropriate-scaled methods for the site environment.
  5. Efficiently manage and reuse energy, resources, and materials to minimize environmental impacts and to reduce or eliminate the contribution of mineral exploration activities and development to climate change.
  6. Act to protect vulnerable habitats, species and biodiversity. Respect legally designated protected areas.
  7. Support efforts to remediate and mitigate historical mineral exploration impacts.
  8. Seek opportunities for continuous improvement and innovation of environmental performance.