The British Columbia Government in Canada has proposed to amend the provincial Mines Act to allow investigators more time to probe into mining violations and impose fines.
Energy and Mines Minister responsible for the Core Review Bill Bennet who tabled the amendments said: "We don’t want to be in a position where time limits prevent investigators and Crown Counsel from doing their jobs.
"These amendments will ensure there is more time available, if required, for a thorough investigation and for a decision on whether to pursue charges for offences under the Mines Act."
According to the proposed amendment, the current time limit for pursuing charges will be increased from between six to 12 months to three years.
Modifications to the Mining Act will be initiated retrospectively on and from 1 August this year.
The amendment will be applicable to on-going investigations, including the tailing storage facility breach at the Imperial Metals-owned Mount Polley mine, which ocurred on 4 August.
British Columbia has said that the amendment will bring legislation in-line with other natural resource legislation such as the Forest and Range Practices Act and the Environmental Management Act.
The tailing pond breach at the Mount Polley mine in the Cariboo region of British Columbia spilled water and slurry into Polley Lake.
Imperial Metals has stated that the initial response and recovery phase has been completed, while rehabilitation and restoration activities are in process.
Initial response work included securing the remaining tailings within the impoundment, reducing the water level in Polley Lake and cleaning up woody debris deposited in Quesnel Lake.
Image: A tailing pond breach at the Mount Polley mine in the Cariboo region of British Columbia spilled water and slurry into Polley Lake. Photo: courtesy of Visible Earth, NASA / Wikimedia.