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Dealing With Mining Legacy - Some Canadian Approaches

Diana Valiela, Christopher G. Baldwin, Mining and Oil and Gas Law, Development, and Investment - Book 1 (2007)

In this paper we discuss approaches that have been used in Canada to identify and foster private sector, public and aboriginal participation in dealing with mining environmental liabilities and orphan sites.2 To a large extent, Canadian and international laws dealing with environmental regulation, public consultation, and aboriginal rights impose obligations on mining companies and on Canadian governments to provide for public and aboriginal participation in processes affecting the environment and natural resources. In addition, in 2002 the National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative (“NOAMI”) was established as a cooperative program to assess key issues and recommend collaborative approaches to rehabilitation of orphaned/abandoned mines in Canada.3 NOAMI is guided by an Advisory Committee with representatives of the mining industry, federal, provincial and territorial governments, environmental non-governmental organizations, and First Nations.

II. CANADIAN LEGAL AND POLICY FRAMEWORK FOR DEALING WITH MINING LEGACY

This section covers federal, provincial, and international legal and policy instruments that impose obligations on private parties and governments to clean up abandoned mining sites. Many statutes and regulations dealing with natural resources and environment require public notification and opportunities for public comment and participation.