Transitioning our economy to renewable energy will require raw materials that B.C. is blessed to have in abundance. Done right, mining can provide stable jobs and long-term revenue in rural and Indigenous communities. But right now, B.C.’s mining laws need a serious overhaul.
At a basic level, we need to ensure companies are held responsible for disasters like the Mount Polley tailings dam failure – which released 25 billion litres of contaminated sludge into the Fraser watershed. Taxpayers can no longer be on the hook for environmental damage, or cleanup after a company goes bankrupt.
At the same time, we need to work together with our Indigenous neighbours. That starts with obtaining consent from local communities before staking a claim or drilling on their land. Mining companies need to learn to respect human rights, including Indigenous rights here in B.C.
Finally, we need to get serious about protecting our most precious natural resource: fresh water. We can’t afford to pollute any more salmon streams, lakes or rivers. As we’ve seen in B.C. and around the world, storing lakes of liquid waste behind huge earthen dams is a recipe for disaster.