1.20 Mining

While the control of natural resources is allocated to provincial governments, the consequences of mining often encroach on areas of federal jurisdiction, especially on fisheries. This energy intensive industry (81 MT, NrCan 2014) also contributes more than four times as much to Canada’s GHG emissions as do all domestic flights in Canada (2014- 17 MT GHG).  The most energy intensive mining is in the oil sands.

The Greens support triple bottom line analysis, measuring social, environmental, and economic costs and benefits. Such an analysis must be conducted before approval is given for a mine. We should not be mining products in Canada, like uranium, that are highly toxic to our environment and to human health. The Green Party will require that mine reclamation plans include detailed plans and effective measures to deal with acid mine drainage and are in place before active mining begins. The Greens will also provide tax benefits to reward full recycling of metals, as recycling is a far more cost-effective way to produce metals than to mine virgin materials. Mining should be subjected to full cost accounting. The reality is that mining may contribute very little local employment, but leaves behind the residues, leaching ponds, poisoning of the water table, damaged roads due to heavy trucks (becoming a township, local taxpayer expense) and the real gains, if they are real, are in value-added jobs elsewhere. New mines, even exploration, often are a disincentive to other investments and land uses, since the threat of mining lowers land values. For instance, there is currently no monitoring of the impacts of uranium mining on groundwater, agricultural lands, or air quality as wind carries pollutant loads to other provinces.

Green Party MPs will:

  • Call for government action to require life-cycle product stewardship of metals to ensure that once mined they remain in economic service for generationsVigorously oppose the permitting of any new uranium mines and notify current uranium-permit holders of plans to phase out this industry in Canada, including exports;
  • Vigorously oppose the permitting of any new uranium mines and notify current uranium-permit holders of plans to phase out this industry in Canada, including exports;
  • Prohibit the export of fissionable nuclear material;
  • Push for an end to all subsidies to the mining sector to ensure full-cost accounting. End the tax benefits to flow-through shares promoting prospecting and exploration in unlikely areas. End prospecting for tax write-offs;
  • Work with provinces, territories, and industry to ensure that all mining operations are insured for environmental liabilities, and have an adequate pre-funded plan for remediation, both for the short and long-term, when a mine closes;
  • Introduce a Corporate Social Responsibility Act to regulate the mining industry, requiring the highest environmental practices both in Canada and wherever Canadian companies operate, and ensure that waters are not contaminated during mining operations and after a mine closes.