Revisions made to the Tailings Storage Facility have had positive impacts on their management and operation, according to a report from the Mines Chief Auditor.
The report, Audit of Code Requirements for Tailing Storage Facilities, concludes that the changes implemented in 2016 to the Health, Safety, and Reclamation Code for Mines in BC are consistent with established industry best practices, are clear and enforcable, and have a high level of compliance from industry.
“The 2016 revision of the code related to TSFs was selected as one of our first audits due to the importance of this topic and the high level of interest from Indigenous communities, the public and industry following the breach of the TSF at Mount Polley,” says Andrew Rollo, chief auditor. “I want to thank the audit team for their dedication to producing a high-quality report and recommendations that I believe will contribute to the continuous improvement of TSF oversight in British Columbia.”
The chief auditor provided seven recommendations to ensure regulations and oversight continue to improve and offer strong environmental protection.
- Resolve inconsistencies and overlap in TSF Regulation between the code and Dam Safety Regulation under the Water Sustainability Act.
- Develop a plan for determining when and how the regulatory framework for tailings storage facilities will be updated to reflect evolving best practices
- Clarify ambiguous language in the code pertaining to TSFs
- Revise the code guidance document to be consistent with the code
- Ensure ministry staff and regulated parties have a common understanding of the ministry’s approach to compliance verification and enforcement of the TSF regulatory framework
- Develop plans to ensure the workload of geotechnical inspectors is prioritized effectively
- Ensure compliance data for tailings storage facilities are entered, used and managed consistently among ministry staff
“This first audit allows us to assess how our mining regulations and standards work, identifying what we can build and improve upon to ensure safety for people, communities and the environment,” says Bruce Ralston, Minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation. “We are committed to implementing all seven recommendations put forward by the chief auditor and will continue our work to build a world-leading regulatory framework for TSFs here in B.C.”