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International Update Volume 44, Issue 23

CANADIAN DAM FAILURE THREATENS NEW MINING PROJECTS

Canada

A dam failure in British Columbia may make it more difficult for new mining projects to be approved. Last week, an accident at Imperial Metals Corps’s Mount Polley copper and gold mine sent billions of gallons of waste from a tailings pond flowing into nearby creeks, rivers, and lakes, causing the local district authority to declare a state of emergency amid concerns about drinking water. The breach will likely be problematic for the mining industry, which makes up about one-fifth of Canada’s exports.

CHINA TO BAN USE OF COAL IN BEIJING

China

China has announced plans to ban the use of coal in Beijing by 2020 in an effort to reduce dangerous levels of pollution. According to the official Xinhua News Agency, coal accounted for one-quarter of Beijing’s energy consumption in 2012 and 22% of the city’s fine particulate matter. Beijing's Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau has said that the city will begin to rely instead on electricity and natural gas for heating.

SINGAPORE’S NEW AIR POLLUTION LAW FACES UPHILL BATTLE

Singapore

A new cross-border air pollution bill approved by the Singapore government last week has the potential to crack down hard on polluters. The law seeks to address the problem of air pollution in Singapore that is caused by smoke from forest fires in neighboring Indonesia. The legislation provides enforcers with a relatively low threshold to prove that a country outside of Singapore has caused air pollution, and allows for fines of up to S$100,000 per day (US$79,980), with a S$2 million maximum (US$1.6 million).