HomeNewsProvincialProvince should listen to resource communities, not professional activists, mining pro says

Province should listen to resource communities, not professional activists, mining pro says

BC has the best framework in the world for responsible mining, and needs to start acting like it, an industry expert says.

Earlier this month Keerit Jutla, head of the Association for Mineral Exploration (AME), spoke to the Strathcona Regional District’s new resources committee to give a mining industry update. He says the province is tinkering with things that aren’t broken, and that other industries and resource communities should take notice.

“We want sound policy that has our input, and I think all of your different inputs into it, to ensure that all of the local economies and the people that rely on it, including the Indigenous nations that are part of our organization, have the certainty to move forward,” he said.

Keerit Jutla, President and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration

Jutla says the province is listening to foreign environmental groups while ignoring local concerns. He points to changes proposed for the Mineral Tenure Act, which is intended to regulate non-invasive mineral exploration. The government is working to “modernize” the act to reflect the terms of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, and Jutla says the past year shows there’s more going on.

“The conversations have definitely gone beyond that scope, and conversations that apply to all natural resource industries,” he says. “All of the different industries in BC have comprehensive regulatory processes. BC is one of the best, if not the best, for regulatory standards that are very much higher than other places in Canada, and in the world.”

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However, he says the provincial water and lands ministry seems to think BC’s resource industries have a bad reputation.

“My response is, who’s telling you BC has a poor reputation? The answer was usually environmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from outside of the province,” he says. “My response to the minister and for the folks in government is saying, BC has already the best regime for this, we need to make sure that we make it easier and more accessible for the folks who rely on the industry on all parts of the value chain.”

He says local governments like the regional district need to pressure the province to properly consult with resource-dependent communities and industries affected by politically-motivated policies and slow down the pace of legislative changes before they cause economic harm.

“It’s going to take time to get this right, you can’t rush it,” he says. “You can’t sprint a marathon, no matter if there’s an election coming up or not.”

The AME represents 5,000 members around the province in BC’s mining sector.

His whole presentation to the Strathcona Regional District is available on YouTube, it starts at 53:15

Alternatively, you can listen to it here.

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