Principles and Goals of The Whitehorse Mining Initiative *

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The Mining Association of Canada took a suggestion for a multi-stakeholder process to the mines ministers of all senior governments at its annual conference in Whitehorse in September 1992. Representatives of five sectors of society-the mining industry, senior governments, labour unions, aboriginal peoples, and the environmental community-agreed to participate. A Political Accord was signed on 12 September 1994 endorsing the following principles and goals. The provinces of Newfoundland, Quebec, and Alberta and the Assembly of First Nations did not sign the accord.

Overlap and     Our Principle
                Elimination of unnecessary
                regulatory duplication and overlap,
                with appropriate checks and
                balances, will aid the effective
                protection of the environment and
                achieve greater efficiency in
                regulating the mining industry.

                Our Goals

                To continue to establish cooperation agreements among
                jurisdictions for the development, administration, and
                enforcement of environmental standards to improve the
                efficiency and effectiveness of the regulatory system
                and to reduce the unnecessary industry regulatory
                compliance costs.

                To streamline the permitting and compliance processes
                to minimize the time and costs to meet the
                requirements of the various regulatory regimes.

                To develop processes such that each new mining project
                is subject to single timely environmental assessment
                by an appropriate single lead agency, which results in
                only one set of recommendations that meet the
                requirements of all junsdictions.

Environmental   Our Principle
                Environmentally responsible mining
                exploration, development,operations,
                operations and public policies are
                predicated on maintaining a healthy
                environment and, on closure,
                returning mine sites and affected
                areas to viable, and, wherever
                practicable, self-sustaining
                ecosystems that are compatible with
                a healthy environment and with
                human activities.

                Our Goals

                To ensure minimal environmental impact during mining
                exploration, development, and closure by voluntary and
                regulatory means, including the use of appropriate
                environmental effects monitoring.

                To ensure that comprehensive reclamation plans that
                return all mine sites to viable, and, wherever
                practicable, self-sustaining ecosystems are developed,
                and are adequately financed, implemented, and
                monitored in all junsdictions.

                To ensure that the responsible governments maintain a
                balanced regulatory framework

                To ensure that the responsible governments maintain a
                balanced regulatory framework for mine reclamation
                that is stable over time, harmonized across
                jurisdictions, and based on standards that meet the
                needs of a sustainable society. And that changes to
                the framework be made through a measured,
                consultative, and predictable process with appropriate
                phase-in periods.

                To develop techniques through interdisciplinary
                research that minimize or prevent adverse
                environmental impacts, and that return disturbed sites
                to viable, and, wherever practicable, self-sustaining

                To provide a regime for mine reclamation financial
                assurances at current and future mines which ensures
                adequate funds for full reclamation and a means of
                financial assurance that is reasonable, flexible and

                To establish in each jurisdiction an acceptable means
                of identifying responsible parties to undertake
                reclamation of old mine sites that pose a health,
                safety, or environmental problem.

                To establish in each jurisdiction funding means for
                reclaiming old mine sites where responsibility cannot
                be assigned. Reclamation should begin with those sites
                posing the greatest risk.

                To encourage the exploration of old mine sites which,
                if successful, may lead to potential environmental
                clean-up opportunities through redevelopment.

                To ensure the development of site-specific reclamation
                standards which, wherever practicable, work toward the
                establishment of the onginal ecosystem but which, when
                justified by specific circumstances, take into account
                the possible need for on-going management and the
                possibilitv of other desirable uses.

Planning and    Our Principle
Assessment      Environmental assessment is an
                essential tool for identifying
                potential environmental impacts of
                proposed projects, determining their
                acceptability, and evaluating
                potential mitigation and remediation
                measures, thus enabling economic
                activity to proceed while
                safeguarding the health of the

                Our Goals

                To ensure that project-specific environmental
                assessments are effective, efficient, and well
                defined, and are conducted in the broader context of:

                - an integrated land-use planning process, and

                - government policies and programs.

                To ensure that the terms of reference and scope of
                environmental assessments are ecologically relevant
                and are decided upon early in the process.

                To have environmental assessment processes which are
                formally structured, credible, balanced and fair.

*Principles and goals concerning business climate, financing, taxation,
government services, and attracting and retraining skilled workers
are excluded.

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