West Coast Environmental Law

September 19, 2013 14:58 ET

BC Local Governments call for Modernization of BC's Gold Rush Era Mining Rules

New legal study makes case for reform

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA and COAST SALISH TERRITORY, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwired - Sept. 19, 2013) - In a resolution passed with overwhelming support today at the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference, BC local governments called on the provincial government to work with First Nations, local governments, industry and citizens to modernize BC's "free entry" mining laws, which for over 150 years have given mining activity priority over virtually all other land uses and generated conflict over mining activity throughout BC.

After receiving unanimous support from the Association of Vancouver Island and Coastal Communities earlier this year, Resolution B80: MINERAL TENURE ACT MODERNIZATION was endorsed by the UBCM resolutions committee and was passed this morning by the UBCM membership.

"With mineral exploration permits issued at two sites within kilometres of our town, we have learned firsthand how BC's 'free entry' mining laws are a root cause of unnecessary conflicts around the province," says Tofino Mayor Josie Osborne, who brought forward the resolution. "It's time to modernize BC's outdated Mineral Tenure Act in a way that ensures the full range of interests - including social, cultural, ecological and economic - are given fair consideration on BC's land base. That was the thrust of our resolution."

A new legal study by West Coast Environmental Law and the Fair Mining Collaborative, provided to all BC local governments prior to the vote, made the case for reform.

"The real and ongoing costs of BC's outdated 'free entry' mining laws are felt every day, throughout our province by private property owners, local governments, First Nations, the mining industry and all citizens," says Jessica Clogg, Executive Director & Senior Counsel, West Coast Environmental Law. "Building a responsible, modern mining sector that has social licence to thrive in BC needs to begin with updating our mineral tenure laws."

The West Coast/Fair Mining Collaborative report, released publically for the first time today, tells the story of a wide variety of people and places in BC negatively impacted by BC's "free entry" mining laws, and presents extensive research about best practices from other jurisdictions that could inform reform in BC. The report is available online at:

http://wcel.org/sites/default/files/publications/WCEL_Mining_report_web.pdf

Contact Information

  • For comment:
    Josie Osborne
    Mayor of Tofino
    250.266.5229

    Jessica Clogg
    Executive Director & Senior Counsel
    West Coast Environmental Law Assn
    778-327-8964

    Amy Crook
    Executive Director
    Fair Mining Collaborative
    (for comment on best practices research project)
    250 871-3627