Red Chris Mine Tailings Pond

Mining

Canada is home to some of the world’s largest mining companies and major mining operations. The top five minerals mined in 2016 in Canada were gold, copper, potash, iron ore and coal. Mining contributed greatly to the economic development of Canada over the last century. However in more recent years the high environmental and social impacts of mining has cast the industry in a new light.

While scientific and public understanding of the impacts of mining has changed dramatically in recent years, regulations have been slow to keep pace. In B.C., the government has faced criticisms over its tailings ponds regulations in the wake of the 2014 Mount Polley mining disaster. First Nations have also called for reforms to gold rush-era laws that allow companies to stake claims without free, prior and informed Indigenous consent — one of the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) that B.C. adopted in 2019.

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