Canadian Mining Industry Compliance Challenges

Jonathan Brun

Mining and mining related activities are a major contributor to the Canadian economy. According to Natural Resources Canada, domestic mineral production was worth C$ 48.1 Billion in 2019 alone. Furthermore, the industry employs over 400,000 people and purchase services from other key industries, such as rail and shipping.

Currently, mining in Canada is subject to significant regulatory requirements, including:

  • Comprehensive environmental assessment approaches under the Federal Impact Assessment Act (2019) and provincial requirements, for major mines.
  • Revised health and safety monitoring requirements at the provincial level. For example, the amended Mines Act of British Columbia aims to separate the compliance and enforcement of safety standards from the issuance of permits.
  • Overlapping obligations sources administered by multiple regulatory bodies at both the federal and provincial levels.

As such mining operations have to monitor and track a complex range of federal and provincial legal obligations, permits, and approvals, while adapting to evolving legislation and standards.

A significant upcoming change for the industry is the introduction of revised federal Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations on June 1, 2021, set to affect over 100 mines in Canada. With these changes, mining companies will have to track changes to existing obligations, implement new monitoring and measurement standards, and determine if their effluent discharges contain newly regulated substances such as unionized ammonia, which for the first time, will have a federal effluent limit (0.5 mg-N/L). Other, more stringent limits will be applied to new mines, but tighter limits will be in force for existing operations.

As ever, the goal of tougher, more explicit regulations is to promote and ensure increased environmental protection and sustainability in the mining industry. However, mapping an ever-changing and complex set of obligations sources can be a daunting exercise.

With a comprehensive database of external EHS obligations, Nimonik provides customers with a specialized Mining and Minerals Industry package, providing timely updates on proposed changes and new legislation. Internally managed permits, approvals, and company policies can be processed to extract relevant obligations.

On NimonikApp, external and internal obligations are stored in customized, targeted Compliance Obligations registers, and can be assigned a relevant status, detailed notes and links. A powerful action management system ensures the timely management of regulatory updates, permit obligations and audit requirements.

Customers receive dedicated account implementation, training, and support to achieve their compliance objectives. Contact us at Nimonik to learn more



Munaf von Rudloff, Comprehensive Compliance Expert