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New enforcement penalties tabled for BC mining sector

New regulations for BC’s mining sector were tabled in the legislature today.

Mines Minister Bill Bennett says they are giving mine inspectors power to level their own monetary fines for safety infractions.

“Being able to do that without going to court, and doing it fairly quickly is going to be a lever that won’t be used very often but it will be there for when we need it.”

Until now, the only enforcement tools the ministry had were a shut down of the mine or pulling its license.

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Bennett says the fines can address something minor with a fine such as $2000, or major repeated infractions which could result in six figure penalties.

The changes are a part of 26 recommendations made by an independent panel following the Mount Polley Tailings pond breach.

“The next step is for us to make changes to the regulations in the Mining Code to reflect the recommendations from that group. Including first nations and unions and mining companies on what needs to change. We expect to have that done in the next month or two.”

Existing penalties available for court prosecutions under the act will also increase with the changes. The maximum penalties will be raised from the current $100,000 and/or up to one year imprisonment to $1 million and/or up to three years imprisonment.

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