The Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) issued an administrative penalty totalling $25,000 to Newmont Corporation (formerly Newcrest Red Chris Mining Limited) on Dec. 18, 2023.

The company was fined for not complying with an order in 2019 for Newcrest Red Chris Mining Limited to install and electrify fencing around the full perimeter of the workcamp for its Red Chris Porphyry Copper-Gold Mine in northeastern B.C., as required.

Electric fencing helps prevent dangerous interactions between people and wildlife, specifically in this case, grizzly bears, a blue-listed species of special concern in British Columbia. Project records show frequent grizzly bear activity in the area and at least two instances of problematic human/bear interactions in or around the camp.

Multiple inspections of the project by EAO compliance and enforcement officers, going back as far as 2018, found repeated non-compliance with fencing requirements, including incomplete, not electrified or not operational fencing. The EAO has issued multiple warnings and orders.

The deficiencies were rectified after the EAO ordered Newcrest again in July 2023 to have functioning electric fencing in place around the entire workcamp perimeter within 30 days or the workcamp would be shut down. An additional administrative penalty has been recommended related to the ongoing non-compliance and subsequent 2023 order, but a decision is still pending.

While urgent issues identified during inspections that pose an immediate risk are addressed right away through enforcement tools such as warnings and stop-work orders, project operators may also be subsequently subject to financial penalties.

The EAO takes compliance seriously. When a project receives an environmental assessment certificate, it contains legally binding requirements that must be followed for the life of the project. These requirements are intended to prevent negative environmental, social, cultural, health or economic impacts and impacts to First Nations.

As a neutral regulator, the EAO has a team of compliance and enforcement officers who monitor all certified projects, conducting both routine and spot inspections and taking enforcement action as necessary. This helps ensure that projects are built, operated and decommissioned in compliance with all requirements.

The EAO continues to actively monitor the Red Chris mine to make sure all requirements are being met.

Quick Facts:

  • The Red Chris Porphyry Copper-Gold Mine is located 18 kilometres southeast of the Village of Iskut and approximately 80 kilometres south of Dease Lake.
  • Newmont Corporation acquired Newcrest Red Chris Mining Limited in November 2023.
  • The project received an environmental assessment certificate in 2005, one of the key authorizations required to build and operate the mine.
  • The approval included a requirement to implement specific measures to prevent or reduce the potential for adverse impacts to bears at the site.
  • Project construction began in 2012 and the mine opened and began extracting ore in 2015.


Learn More:

For information about the administrative penalty, go to:

For information about the Red Chris Porphyry Copper-Gold Mine project, go to: and search “Red Chris”

For more information about the environmental assessment process, visit:


BC: Energy regulator rejects FortisBC’s $327M application for natural gas pipeline

(Source: CBC News) The B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) has rejected an application from FortisBC to build a natural gas pipeline worth $327 million in the Okanagan region.

The Okanagan Capacity Upgrade (OCU) project would have seen the installation of 30 kilometres of new pipeline, running north from Penticton to Chute Lake, along with two new power stations to help regulate the pipeline’s flow.

FortisBC, the main natural gas utility in the province, said the OCU project was needed to meet demand in the southern Interior over the next two decades. 

It had told the BCUC that it would be unable to meet the demand for natural gas — which is primarily used to heat homes in B.C. — as early as the winter of 2026/27 with its existing pipeline infrastructure.

However, the BCUC — the province’s independent energy regulator — found that FortisBC did not account for a flattening, or even a downturn, of the demand for natural gas as the province moves away from fossil-fuel-based energy sources under its CleanBC plan.

“In conclusion, the panel finds that, if [FortisBC’s] application is denied in whole or in part, the forecast peak demand growth … is highly unlikely to occur,” a BCUC panel report released Friday stated.

The two-member panel found that the project was not “necessary for the public convenience and does not conserve the public interest” following an extensive consultation period which involved public feedback and the input of several stakeholders, including the Penticton Indian Band (PIB).

It stated that the province’s environmental plan encourages electrification of heating infrastructure, in particular, with the plan encouraging new homes to install  technologies like heat pumps instead of traditional natural gas heaters.

In a statement, FortisBC said they were reviewing the BCUC’s decision.

“We are disappointed that our application to develop this important piece of infrastructure has been denied,” the company said. “FortisBC’s infrastructure is vital to the delivery of renewable and low-carbon gases, which are critical to the  province’s ability to meet its CleanBC

Under provincial regulations, FortisBC can file a reconsideration application with the BCUC or take the regulator to court over a decision. The utility did not indicate in
its statement if it was considering an appeal.

In total, the BCUC received 96 letters from the public commenting on the project.

The PIB, as well as five other stakeholders, served as interveners at the BCUC panel.

One of them, the industry group Commercial Energy Consumers Association of British Columbia, stated that FortisBC had demonstrated an “immediate need for capacity” and the push for more electrification would not significantly affect FortisBC’s short-term future.

On the other hand, climate non-profit First Things First Okanagan argued that recent climate action plans from the Okanagan cities of Vernon and Penticton recognized the need to reduce natural gas use in buildings.

The intervener argued that those plans would likely lessen natural gas demand in those areas in the years to come.

While the PIB indicated it would support the project in its final submission to the panel, an earlier report commissioned by the band stated that FortisBC had not demonstrated a clear need for it. 

Ultimately, however, the PIB said its community had voted in support of FortisBC’s plans.

After its consultation process, the BCUC panel said that there was no certainty that the full scope of the project was required.

It has directed Fortis to examine other short-term solutions for anticipated natural gas demand and file a mitigation plan by the end of July 2024.