This system is inconsistent with the state’s status as a model of regulatory excellence, the conference heard on January 24 during a panel discussion moderated by Logic’s Anita Balakrishnan.
Activist Nikki Skeuse, co-chair of the non-governmental organization BC Mining Law Reform Network and director of the Northern Confluence Initiative, said: “Malicious actors are the ones who are the ones who are the ones who are the ones who are the ones who are the ones who are the ones who don’t want to do it. It damages the reputation of the industry.”
The Mineral Exploration Association (AME) hosted this session for the first time with the aim of providing a forum for confronting and debating opposing views. This conference attracted over 6,200 participants over four days.
Skuse points out the inconsistency between British Columbia’s Declaration of Indigenous Rights Act, adopted in 2019, and the Mineral Titles Act, an “archaic” 19th-century law regulating the acquisition of claims. did.
She highlighted a Supreme Court ruling in September that criticized the province’s chief gold commissioner for its “one-click” mineral claims process, which does not meet the Crown’s obligation to consult with Indigenous groups and private landowners. .
The court gave B.C. 18 months (currently 14 months) to modernize the law.
AME BC President Keerit Jutra said efforts are underway to involve all stakeholders.
Skase explains the urgent need for reform by sharing an anecdote about an Indigenous tourism operator in the Cariboo region whose post-COVID-19 business recovery was at risk due to nearby mining. did. In another case, a Kamloops couple’s quiet life was destroyed by a prospector who had legally backed title to their farm, showing that the legal system does not protect landowners’ rights. ing.
Scars said these practices continue today, with some groups brazenly laying claim to indigenous lands despite legal challenges. She took a firm stance on broader environmental issues, such as mining encroachment on critical salmon watersheds, and pushed for a transition from gold to sustainable minerals such as copper. Scuse calls for a holistic mining approach that includes land use, biodiversity and long-term environmental management.
Mr Jutra, who has a background in Aboriginal law, defended the industry, saying it and state regulation were doing a good job of protecting the environment. He emphasized that B.C.’s strong regulatory framework, particularly in environmental management, is recognized internationally for its comprehensiveness.
He advocated for transparent and context-specific consultations, especially with indigenous communities, and supported the practical implementation of UNDRIP principles.
Mr Jutra also stressed the need for clear dialogue at various stages of the mining process and expressed concern that NGOs could overshadow the agenda of indigenous rights holders. He highlighted the industry’s commitment to environmental sustainability and efforts to balance environmental concerns with the practical realities of mining.