On November 1, 2012, new rules and changes to existing rules came into effect under the Mining Act in Ontario.
The Mining Act was originally enacted in the 19th century and has remained relatively unchanged since. Several key changes to the Mining Act were enacted in 2009 when the Mining Amendment Act, 2009 was passed.
The changes are geared towards exploration companies and focus on early consultation with Aboriginal communities. The changes have not been without controversy as many in the mining industry see the additional requirements under the Mining Amendment Act, 2009 as costly and time-consuming, and ultimately, as a hindrance to investment in Ontario.
The new rules are:
1. Anyone wishing to apply or renew a prospector’s license must complete the Mining Act Awareness Program.
2. Land may be withdrawn from prospecting or staking, or have its mining rights or surface rights withdrawn if it is a site of Aboriginal cultural significance.
3. An Exploration Plan must be submitted before certain early exploration activities are performed. Compliance with this requirement is voluntary from November 1, 2012 and mandatory from April 1, 2013.
4. An Exploration Permit must be obtained from the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines before certain early exploration activities are performed. Compliance with this requirement is voluntary from November 1, 2012 and mandatory from April 1, 2013.
Changes to existing rules regarding voluntary rehabilitation of existing mines, GPS georeferencing data on ground staked mining claims, assessment work credits, the amount of material that will be considered a bulk sample, and Aboriginal consultation on a mine closure plan have also come into effect.
For more details, please refer to the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines’ website, which can be found here.