British Columbia Indigenous rights bill should not be a problem for miners: industry group

BC Premier, John Horgan, presents Bill 41 before the legislature. (Image courtesy of the BC Government, Flickr).

The Association for Mineral Exploration or AME, a Vancouver-based industry group, issued a communiqué stating that the sector expects “minimal immediate change” following the introduction of the new BC Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

Last week, the government of British Columbia in the figure of Premier John Horgan tabled Bill 41 on First Nations rights in the legislature. If passed, BC will be the first province in the country to legally implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. This means that Indigenous peoples will be included in all decision-making that impacts their rights and that all provincial laws would have to be aligned with the standards of the UN declaration. 

“AME supports the goal of the legislation to advance reconciliation with First Nations and the objective to reduce uncertainty for users of the land base,” the Association said in its media statement. “For the BC mineral exploration and development industry, we expect minimal immediate change. The majority of companies in our industry are leaders when it comes to building relationships and early engagement with First Nations.”

In the release, Kendra Johnston, AME’s president and CEO, wrote that mining companies understand how important it is to foster collaborative relationships with Indigenous Nations and governments in order to create improved investment certainty.

“Over time, as provincial laws are brought into alignment with UNDRIP, we are cautiously optimistic that this legislation and its implementation will lead to a clear, transparent and timely project review process to attract the capital needed to develop our natural resources for the benefit of all British Columbians,” Johnston said.

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