Indigenous partnership to inform environmental regulatory enhancement

The Taku River Tlingit First Nation (TRTFN) is leading an environmental monitoring study in collaboration with industry and the Province that will inform future updates to placer mining regulations for the Atlin region.

In July 2019, the TRTFN started the study, including sampling water discharge from placer mining operations around Atlin, with the goal of determining potential discharge limits. The results will inform future amendments to the Placer Mining Waste Control Regulation (PMWCR).

“Strong Indigenous partnerships are key to growing a mining industry that creates family-supporting jobs and protects our environment,” said Michelle Mungall, Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources. “This collaborative, science-based initiative will improve environmental performance, while benefiting everyone who lives in the region. It is a great example of how we can ensure mining is done ‘right’ in our province.”

John Ward, spokesperson for the Taku River Tlingit First Nation, said, “TRTFN is pleased to be working collaboratively with the provincial government – experiencing ongoing commitment to our government-to-government relationship, and with the placer mining industry on this project, this will improve the environmental stewardship of the land within our Territory.”

George Heyman, Minister of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, said, “This water monitoring program is a clear example of how our government is listening to the concerns of Indigenous communities and working with them to build and implement solutions. The Taku River Tlingit First Nation has long advocated for the protection of water sources and fish habitat in its territory. Working together, we will be able to set new standards that help ensure those protections can be guaranteed for future generations.”

The PMWCR, under the Environmental Management Act, has been in place since 1989 and regulates waste discharges associated with placer mining operations throughout the province of British Columbia. Concerns raised by the TRTFN and other stakeholders led to a review of the existing regulation and water sampling to gather enough information to determine what regulatory changes need to be made to protect the environment. The water monitoring program will run until the end of 2020.

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