Modern mining: Canada’s reckless mining legacy

Although the archaic 1872 Mining Act allows U.S. mining companies to get away with a lot, Canada’s laws are even worse when it comes to holding mining companies accountable. Tintina Resources is based in Canada. Not only that, but it’s based in British Columbia where an auditor general recently issued a report that slammed British Columbia’s mines monitoring and inspection program.

The report, based on a two-year investigation, found that the government’s inspection program was woefully inadequate and did not protect the province from significant environmental risks (sound familiar?). For one thing, mining companies have not provided adequate financial security deposits to cover reclamation costs if a company pulls the usual trick of going bankrupt. After identifying major gaps in planning, resources and tools and poor compliance after a decade of neglect, the report proposed creating a separate agency to manage enforcement and compliance, among other actions.

That might not be a bad idea for Montana: an agency separate from the Department of Environmental Quality to enforce compliance with permits and agreements set up by DEQ. Currently, DEQ is too underfunded and short-handed to adequately enforce compliance or monitor water quality around all the natural resource extraction operations in the state.

But Canada has always had lax standards, which mining companies love. So much so that the Toronto Stock Exchange lists more than 1,500 mining companies – the majority headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia – and a certain portion is constantly starting up and winking out as companies scramble for minerals.

Regions around the world curse Canadian mining companies for the lies they’ve told and the environmental disasters they’ve caused. So much so that members of parliament have begun calling for greater mining company oversight.
“’These unwelcome instances keep on coming up,’ MP John McKay said in an interview after a New York Times front-page story over the weekend shone a harsh spotlight on a Canadian mining company accused of serious crimes in Guatemala.”

With such an easily-manipulated toothless regulatory system, it’s not surprising that Canadian mining companies have developed the attitude of say anything to get in, then rip-out and run-out, cheating at every opportunity to increase profit and leaving states to clean up. And up until now, they’ve rarely been held accountable.

This is the environment that spawned Tintina Resources. Is it wise to think they’re any less deceitful than their counterparts?