Indigenous Influence and Engagement in Mining Permitting in British Columbia, Canada: Lessons for Sweden and Norway?




Allard, Christina
Curran, Deborah

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Environmental Management


Mine developments in Indigenous territories risk disrupting Indigenous cultures and their economies, including spiraling already high levels of conflict. This is the situation in Canada, Sweden, and Norway, as elsewhere, and is fostered by current state legal framework that reflect historical trajectories, although circumstances are gradually changing. Promising institutional changes have taken place in British Columbia (BC), Canada, with respect to new legislative reforms. Notably, new legislation from 2019 intends to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in the province, by promoting consent-based and collaborative decision- making mechanisms. New environmental assessment legislation is another example; this legislation includes early engagement, collaborative decision-making, and Indigenous-led assessments. The article’s aim is, first, to analyze how Indigenous communities can influence and engage in the mining permitting system of BC, and, secondly, to highlight the positive features of the BC system using a comparative lens to identify opportunities for Sweden and Norway regarding mining permitting and Indigenous rights. Applying a legal-scientific and comparative analysis, the article analyzes traditional legal sources. The article concludes that the strong points that the BC regime could offer the two Nordic countries are: the concept of reconciliation, incorporation of UNDRIP, the spectrum of consultation and engagement approaches, and the structure of environmental assessments. All three jurisdictions, however, struggle with balancing mine developments and securing Indigenous authority and influence over land uses in their traditional territories.



indigenous peoples, mining, british columbia, comparative law, environmental law


Christina Allard and Deborah Curran, “Indigenous Influence and Engagement in Mining Permitting in British Columbia, Canada: Lessons for Sweden and Norway?” (2021) Environmental Management.