British Columbia bans new jade mining in province’s northwest

Northern British Columbia landscape. (Image by werner22brigitte, Needpix).

The Canadian province of British Columbia has banned any new jade mining in the northwest region, citing harm to alpine environments.

The BC government has issued a Environment and Land Use Act order prohibiting jade mining activities on new tenures, but current tenure holders listed in the order will be able to continue jade mining for five years with enhanced reclamation requirements.

The order does not impact other mining operations in the region, or affect existing or new jade tenures in other areas of BC, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation said in a news release.

The cumulative impact of jade mining in northwestern BC is causing harmful effects to sensitive alpine environments and creating significant regulatory challenges for permitting, compliance and enforcement due to many of the activities taking place in locations accessible only by helicopter, the ministry said.

The order, it said, will ensure that environmental impacts can be addressed, while existing tenure holders listed in the order continue mining for five years with adequate time to wind down operations.

The ministry has been working with local First Nations, with input from industry, to address concerns regarding the environmental impacts to sensitive alpine environments from jade mining in the Turnagain region of northwestern BC, and the order is needed to protect these areas from further harm and disturbance, the statement reads.

Jade is currently mined in the province’s Dease Lake, Mount Ogden and Cassiar regions.