VICTORIA — British Columbia has prohibited mining activities on new jade tenures in the northwest, while setting a five-year wind-down period for existing operators.

A statement from the Ministry of Energy and Mines says officials have been working closely with First Nations to address concerns about the effects of jade mining on sensitive alpine environments in the area near Dease Lake.

It says an order under the Environment and Land Use Act was necessary to protect the area from further harm and disturbance.

The ministry says mining activities on new tenures must stop immediately, while existing tenure holders may continue operating for five years with “enhanced regulatory requirements,” allowing them “adequate time to wind down.”

In addition to environmental harms, the ministry says jade mining has posed significant challenges when it comes to permitting, compliance and enforcement in northwestern B.C., where many sites are only accessible by helicopter.

The province says the order is limited to jade mining in that region, and it does not affect other kinds of mining or jade tenures elsewhere in B.C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 10, 2024.

The Canadian Press

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