May 1, 2006

Reclaimed sites law receives second reading in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan will be the first province in Canada to have comprehensive legislation for the return to the Crown of decommissioned mine and mill sites located on Crown land. The Reclaimed Industrial Sites Act, which recently received second reading, establishes a uniform framework for returning to the province Crown land held under surface lease once mining activities have been completed.

This framework includes full decommissioning and reclamation of the site to acceptable standards. It also establishes clear custodial and funding responsibility for the long-term monitoring and management.

Key provisions of the Act detail the legal, financial and administrative arrangements whereby the province will accept custodial responsibility for a decommissioned site. An Institutional Control Registry, administered by the Industry and Resources department, will be set up to maintain a comprehensive record of all decommissioned and reclaimed sites.

Industry and Resources Minister Eric Cline said both industry and the public will benefit from the legislation, as it will provide reassurance for the public that there are clear lines of responsibility for a given mine site once the operator is gone, and further clarity for the industry as to the obligations an operator must meet once mining is completed.

He noted that "The legislation was jointly developed by Industry and Resources, Saskatchewan Environment and Saskatchewan Northern Affairs. The mining industry, environmental groups, northern communities and the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission were involved every step of the way. This legislation is not news to them," he continued, "Rather, it represents a culmination of their efforts."

It is expected the Act will come into force January 1st, 2007. The intervening period will be used to develop associated regulations under the Act and consult with stakeholders on them.

More information is available from Roy Schneider at Saskatchewan Industry and Resources, 306/787-9694.

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