Mining Month: What Does It Mean

May, according to the BC mining industry and government, is’ BC Mining Month.’

Mining Month promotes mining as economically vital & BC as a responsible mining jurisdiction. And yes, while some mining is needed, BC mining still has many negative effects on people, salmon, and water, and there are ways it could be done better.

BC mining faces key issues, such as contamination of water and fish habitat, land use allocations (mining vs. conservation), risky tailings facilities, and funding for clean-up and disasters.

For this reason, we believe mining should not happen at the expense of salmon and their habitat, an extremely valued resource in itself.

So, why does SkeenaWild, a salmon conservation organization, spend time and resources advocating for mining policy reform?

Mining and its ancillary activities (e.g., transportation corridors, power infrastructure, water management facilities, etc.) drastically alter the natural landscape and expose metals and other elements that would otherwise remain underground. 

Mines also produce large quantities of waste, such as waste rock and tailings, which are typically stored permanently above ground in piles or in large, water-covered facilities retained by earthen dams (i.e., “tailings storage facilities”). 

In B.C., mines are often located within or upstream of salmon-bearing streams, rivers, or lakes and pose risks to salmon both during regular operations and as a result of unexpected accidents. 


Salmon may be harmed by the regular operations of mining in three key ways:


1. Altered flow regimes and temperature
2. Habitat modification and loss
3. Pollutants


Salmon could also be significantly impacted by unexpected mine catastrophes, such as tailings dam failures. If they fail, large-scale, wet tailings facilities have the potential to release billions of litres of tailings and contaminated water downstream.


However, we understand that our natural resources are essential for our livelihoods. Still, the key here is to approach resource extraction responsibly, ensuring that future generations have the same opportunities as us.


It’s simple—we support responsible development, whether in mining, forestry, fisheries, or energy, that does not put salmon and communities at risk. We do this by having highly qualified, dedicated scientists and researchers on our team to assess impacts and provide solutions.

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