• Quinsam Coal Corporation v. Assistant Regional Waste Manager

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    Decision Date: June 30, 1998

    Panel: Toby Vigod

    Keywords: Waste Management Act – ss. 1(1), 3(2), 10, 54(3); Mines Act – s. 10; Conditional Exemption Regulation – s. 3(3); coal refuse; meaning of “waste”, “refuse”, “discard”, “proper authorization”

    Quinsam Coal Corporation (“Quinsam”) appealed a decision by the Assistant Regional Waste Manager (the “Regional Manager”) making certain amendments to its waste permit. The permit authorized Quinsam to discharge refuse, including coarse and fine coal rejects, from its coal preparation plant to the land. Quinsam argued that coal rejects are not “waste” as defined in the Waste Management Act, that it already had authorization to discharge refuse under a Mines Act permit, and that the waste permit was superfluous since the Mines Act permit achieved adequate environmental protection. Quinsam asked the Board to cancel or rescind the waste permit, confirm that the Mines Act permit regulates the mine’s refuse and tailings, and confirm that the Ministry of Energy and Mines has jurisdiction over these matters.

    The Board first noted that its jurisdiction was limited to the recent amendments to the permit – it could not address issues relating to the entire permit. On the merits of the appeal, the Board found that coarse and fine coal rejects are “waste” as defined in the Waste Management Act. The Board rejected Quinsam’s argument that it had proper authorization to discharge its waste under the Mines Act permit, finding that “proper authorization” to discharge waste meant authorization under the Waste Management Act. The Board found that the amended waste permit was not superfluous or unnecessary, as it dealt with different aspects of the mine operation than the Mines permit. The Board upheld the amended permit except those sections dealing with coarse coal refuse, as coarse coal refuse had been made exempt from the Waste Management Act after the Regional Manager’s decision. Those sections were sent back to the Regional Manager for reconsideration. The appeal was allowed, in part.