KAPA’s reasons for a call to review B.C.’s Mineral Tenure Act are not founded in fact (The Daily News, Aug. 3 letter).
Members of KAPA (Kamloops Area Preservation Society) and others have recently been attempting to instigate changes to the act, suggesting that it is antiquated.
For those of us who work in the industry, the continued alteration of facts utilized in an attempt to stop mineral exploration and mining in B.C. is disappointing. The suggestion that the Mineral Tenure Act is not current is just another indication of this attempt.
For anyone truly interested in the reality, a simple internet search finds that B.C.’s Mineral Tenure Act and regulations were significantly amended in 2005 and again in July 2012.
Contrary to KAPA statements, mineral exploration and mining is not given preferential treatment over other interests. Mineral explorers and miners are subject to stringent provincial and federal laws such as the Mineral Tenure Act, Mines Act, Environmental Management Act, Fisheries Act, Water Act, Wildlife Act and Environmental Assessment Act.
Mineral claim holders are subject to land-use planning requirements, and they can only stake mineral claims in areas of the province approved by the B.C. government.
Mineral-claim holders do not have the right to explore on land occupied by a dwelling or building or land under cultivation.
It is unfortunate that people may become influenced by misinformation that comes from anti-mining groups. Everyone has the right to express opinions in regards to mining. However, altering information and presenting that to the public as facts should never be allowed to support an opinion.
Mineral explorers utilize the most modern scientific tools available. Yet, unlike other resource industries such as agriculture, forestry or even fisheries, where planning for future uses can be made, nobody can determine what minerals lie under the surface in an exact enough way to be able to plan where and when future mines might be developed.
It is only through prolonged exploration and discovery that new ore bodies can be found.
And to do that, mineral explorers require access to large areas of land to search for new and much-needed deposits. However, exploration and mining in B.C. has affected much less than one per cent of the provincial land base, or an area smaller than Greater Victoria.
Many people in B.C. work directly in the mining industry or provide secondary support.
Many livelihoods depend upon a vibrant mining and exploration industry in this province and all communities benefit from the metals that are extracted and the tax revenue provided. However, having mineral tenure does not mean that all other land uses are superseded. Municipalities, regional districts and First Nations are all involved in the planning process, and benefit from new mines.
Those opposed to mining often state that activities should not take place in the vicinity of communities, whereas in reality, many communities are built around mines.
In places such as Kamloops, efforts are made to extend City boundaries to include mines in order to improve the tax base for the City. With our expanding global population, it is often the community that is encroaching upon potential mine sites, such as historic mines and places where significant exploration has been conducted.
This does not mean that mines cannot safely exist in these areas. Modern technologies used in mining combined with extensive monitoring and mitigation can provide protection to the community’s inhabitants and the environment by keeping impact levels within the allowable limits provided by current guidelines.
A progressive and practical 21st-century regulatory system, which includes an efficient and effective staking, permitting and environmental assessment process, just makes good sense. Using anti-mining propaganda and misleading statements to support actions to stop a single proposed project does not make sense.
Through the respectful sharing of sound facts and information, all British Columbians can learn about, and benefit from, modern mineral exploration and mine