British Columbia. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

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British Columbia. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

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The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources was established in 1899 under its first name, the Dept. of Mines, by the Department of Mines Act (SBC 1899, c. 48). Prior to that, the earliest regulation of mining in the province was implemented under the Gold Fields Proclamation of 1859 with the appointment of two gold commissioners by Governor James Douglas for the Colony of British Columbia. A gold commissioner was first appointed in 1864 for the Colony of Vancouver Island. The commissioners registered claims, issued licenses and adjudicated disputes with the advice and aid of elected district mining boards. The establishment of a provincial government with British Columbias entry into Confederation ultimately led to a Minister of Mines Act (SBC 1874, c. 16) in 1874. The Provincial Secretary also served as the Minister of Mines. In 1895, the Bureau of Mines Act 1895 (SBC 1895, c. 3) brought together all government offices connected with the mining industry. A provincial mineralogist was appointed who reported to the Provincial Secretary and Minister of Mines. In 1899, the Department of Mines Act created a separate department and minister. The Bureau of Mines remained in place as the technical division of the department and was also responsible for the certification for assayists. Revisions to the Department of Mines Act in 1934 and 1937 abolished the bureau and completely reorganized and centralized the department, dividing the functions into four branches: Administration Branch under the chief gold commissioner; Assay Branch under the chief analyst and assayer; Mineralogical Branch under the chief mining engineer; and Mines Inspection Branch under the chief inspector of mines. The department had responsibility for all matters affecting mining, including the collection, publication and circulation of information relating to mining, administration of all mining laws, and the operation and maintenance of the Provincial Assay Office, laboratories, sampling plants, and the maintenance of the Museum of Minerals. The functions and responsibilities of the department remained relatively stable until 1953 when responsibility for administration of the Petroleum and Natural Gas Act and the Coal Act was transferred from the Department of Lands and Forests. A Petroleum and Natural Gas Branch, headed by the Chief Petroleum Engineer, was established and the department was renamed the Department of Mines and Petroleum Resources in 1960 (SBC 1960, c. 107). In 1976, it was renamed the Ministry of Mines and Petroleum Resources (OIC 3199/76). The mandate of the ministry was enlarged again in 1978 to include responsibility for energy matters from the disestablished Ministry of Energy, Transport and Communications. Energy resources include natural gas and oil, coal, and electrical power. The ministry was renamed the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources (OIC 3018/78). The ministry was disestablished in 1996 as part of a government-wide reorganization (OIC 197/96). Its duties, powers and functions, other than those related to the Utilities Commission, were transferred to the newly established Ministry of Employment and Investment.

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