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Regulatory Updates in the Mining Industry in February 2019

The following legislative updates are a sample of the changes that have taken place in February. For a comprehensive update of legislative and regulatory changes sign up for our trial subscription.

Federal

 

Topic: Proposed Order Declaring that the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation of Electricity Regulations Do Not Apply in Saskatchewan 

Released: February 2019 [Comments on the proposed order are invited until April 17, 2019]

Summary of changes: 

  • The proposed order, made pursuant to subsection 10(3) of CEPA, would suspend the application of the federal Regulations, made under subsection 93(1) of CEPA, in Saskatchewan, effective January 1, 2020.

  • The Minister of the Environment is proposing an Order in Council that would suspend the application of the Reduction of Carbon Dioxide Emissions from Coal-fired Generation of Electricity Regulations (the federal Regulations) in the province of Saskatchewan, effective January 1, 2020. The basis for the Order is a proposed equivalency agreement for which a notice of availability was published on December 29, 2018, in the Canada Gazette, Part I. This agreement would ensure an equivalent outcome in terms of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions over the July 1, 2018, to December 31, 2029, period. The proposed OiC would reduce regulatory overlap and administrative burden, allowing Saskatchewan to achieve equivalent GHG emission reductions in a manner that best suits its particular circumstances.

Title of Act or Regulation: Proposed Regulations Amending the Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations  

Released: February 2019

Summary of changes: 

  • The Sisson Partnership (the Proponent) is proposing to develop an open pit tungsten and molybdenum mine and associated infrastructure located approximately 60 kilometres (km) northwest of Fredericton, New Brunswick. The Proponent expects to operate the mine for an estimated 27 years.

  • The Proponent intends to use water bodies frequented by fish to dispose of the mine waste (tailings and waste rock) that will be generated by the mining operations. Subsection 36(3) of the Fisheries Act (the Act) prohibits the deposit of deleterious substances into waters frequented by fish, unless authorized by regulation. The Metal and Diamond Mining Effluent Regulations (MDMER), made pursuant to subsections 34(2), 36(5) and 38(9) of the Act, include provisions to allow the use of waters frequented by fish for the disposal of mine waste. The proposed amendments to the MDMER would list two water bodies in Schedule 2 of the MDMER, designating them as tailings impoundment areas (TIAs), which would allow the Proponent to dispose of mine waste as proposed.

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Document: Standard for Completing Greenhouse Gas Compliance and Forecasting Reports Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation

In force date: March 8, 2019

Summary of changes: 

  • Quantification requirements of certain emission categories are optional for reporting periods one and two of 2019 for forecasting facilities

  • Reminder: report all negligible emissions as they count towards the Total Regulated Emissions

  • Minor typographical edits

Document: Reclamation Certificate Application Checklist for EPEA-Approved Activities

Released: February 2019

Summary of changes: 

The Alberta Environment and Parks released this checklist which covers the minimum content requirements under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act (EPEA) and Conservation and Reclamation Regulations, section 12(1)(a) and (b) for applications for reclamation certificates for EPEA-approved activities, including the following:

  • gas plants (sour gas plants)

  • coal mines and processing plants

  • oil sands mines and processing plants

  • enhanced recovery in situ oil sands or heavy oil processing plants

  • oil production sites (associated with a processing plant producing more than 2000 cubic metres per day)

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Alberta
British Columbia

 

Document: Protocol 13: Screening Level Risk Assessment

Released:  February 2019

Summary of changes:

  • This protocol describes the procedures required to complete a screening level risk assessment (SLRA) for a contaminated site in British Columbia. The intention of SLRA is to evaluate whether contamination at a specific site poses acceptable or unacceptable risks to human health and the environment. Such an evaluation includes a simple assessment of exposure pathways and receptors. Contaminated sites that are deemed to have no unacceptable risks (i.e., pass SLRA) are considered to satisfy the risk-based standards of the Contaminated Sites Regulation (the Regulation) and are eligible for a Certificate of Compliance. No further remediation is required at these sites as long as site conditions do not change.

  • A SLRA completed under this protocol must be carried out by a qualified professional with appropriate demonstrable experience in accordance with Section 63 of the Regulation.

  • A SLRA completed in accordance with this protocol does not require a Director’s decision except as described in Sections 3.2 and 7.0.

  • SLRA may be used for any substance subject to the requirements specified in this protocol.

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Ontario

 

Topic: Making polluters accountable: Industrial Emission Performance Standards 

Released:  February 2019 (Consultations are invited until March 29, 2019)

Summary of changes:

 

Ontario is considering flexible compliance mechanisms that would include receiving compliance units as an incentive for performing better than the standard, for voluntary emission reductions by others, or payments to purchase compliance units from the government.

Any payments we collect under the program could contribute to a greenhouse gas (GHG) fund focused on supporting industry in greenhouse gas emission reductions.

The Ontario Ministry of Environment welcomes comments on the following components of the proposed EPS:

1. Program scope

2. Emissions threshold and opt-in provision

3. Competitiveness/ carbon leakage risk assessment and determination of stringency factor

4. Compliance obligations/ flexibility mechanisms

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