The MLA for Weledeh says the Northwest Territories is at risk of getting stuck paying for mine closures and clean ups after devolution.
The federal government will remain responsible for existing contaminated sites, such as Giant Mine, but operating mines will become the territory's responsibility.
But Bob Bromley says the federal government has a poor track record of making sure operating mines and existing projects are setting aside the money to cover the cost of any possible contamination.
In the legislative assembly, he questioned whether the territory could do better.
“While cabinet proposes to roll out even more subsidies to the resource extraction industry, are they secretly deciding that security deposits are an unnecessary burden on industry that hinders our competitiveness?”
Federal weaknesses documented
In 2012, a report from Canada’s Commissioner of the Environment found weaknesses with the way the federal government manages security bonds posted by mining companies.
For example, it found that 3 of the 11 mines in Nunavut had security shortfalls totalling almost $11 million.
“In the case of one mine, the Department accepted $17.6 million in promissory notes for reclamation costs,” the report reads.
Premier Bob McLeod says the territory is still discussing security deposits with the federal government.
He says they're also finalizing the list of sites the territory will be responsible for.
Bromley asked the premier to publicize that list of security deposits and liabilities for the operating mines that the territory will oversee.