VANCOUVER – The latest provincial safety statistics show the B.C. mining industry has not experienced a mine operations fatality since September 2009, the longest period of time without fatalities since 1898.

In 2004, the Province adopted a risk-based approach to inspections, and in 2005 implemented a revised mine audit program. The risk-based approach examines the mine injury rate, compliance with regulations and the professional judgment of inspectors to determine the inspection frequency at a particular mine.

Mine audits involve a number of inspectors visiting a particular major site for several days to undertake a comprehensive review of regulatory requirements as set out in the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia. A report is forwarded to the mine manager and follow-up audits are scheduled if deemed necessary. Both of these measures have increased the effectiveness of inspectors’ field time and have contributed to mining being one of B.C.’s safest heavy industries.

Mining operations across B.C. are well-positioned to respond to unexpected emergencies. The B.C. government in partnership with mine operations and the Mining Association of B.C. supports the annual mine rescue simulation, which provides opportunities for mine rescue teams to practice their skills and learn from each other.

Government’s and industry’s approach to health and safety helps maintain high standards in all of British Columbia’s mines.

Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines said, “As a growing number of British Columbians become employed in the surging mining sector, it becomes even more important that B.C. remains a world leader in mine health and safety practices. While B.C.’s safety record is impressive, we always recognize the need for continued diligence and constant improvement.”