British Columbia Government Creates New Mining Departments to Enhance Safety

"We are putting additional resources in place to enable more frequent inspections and upping enforcement to keep mines safe, for workers and for our environment," said Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources.

The British Columbia Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources announced Feb. 25 that it will now have two expanded divisions related to mining: the Mines Heath, Safety and Enforcement Division and the Mines Competitiveness and Authorizations Division. The new divisions were created based on recommendations from the Mining Jobs Task Force.

"We are putting additional resources in place to enable more frequent inspections and upping enforcement to keep mines safe, for workers and for our environment," said Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. "At the same time, we have a more efficient and predictable permit approval process, to encourage investment and get new projects built without unnecessary delays."

The Mines Health, Safety and Enforcement Division will include more mines inspectors and a new auditing function with the goal of increasing safety in the mining industry in British Columbia. The division will prioritize health, safety, compliance management, and enforcement. A new team within the division for compliance auditing and effectiveness monitoring will work as an independent oversight unit.

The Mines Competitiveness and Authorizations Division will promote increased investment in the province's mining sector with an improved approvals process. The division will focus on regulatory certainty, social acceptance, Indigenous reconciliation and partnerships, innovation, world-class geoscience, and leading environmental standards.

Together, the new divisions support the recommendation from the B.C. Mining Jobs Task Force that government should work to improve mining safety and oversight.

British Columbia will invest $20 million during the next three years to support these changes. The ministry is creating 30 new positions in 2019-2020 in the two new divisions, with as many as 35 additional positions added next year and the year after.

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