TORONTO – Changes to the Ontario Mining Act take effect today, Nov. 1, 2012. They are largely aimed at the exploration sector and at early consultation with Aboriginal communities.
Although the provincial government declared that the changes are aimed at ensuring Ontario continues to be a leading jurisdiction for mineral exploration investment, they are not universally lauded.
The need to file exploration plans and apply for permits is seen by industry as added extra costs and delays to exploration. The additional requirement that surface rights owners and Aboriginal communities be notified before any work takes place on their lands, becomes mandatory next April 1. First Nations may also apply to have certain of their lands withdrawn from staking because of cultural significance. Permits will only be issued after consultations with the public and/or Aboriginal communities.
Several other changes have come into effect. Individuals or companies that volunteer to rehabilitate existing mine hazards will not assume liability for pre-existing environmental issues on a site. The staking of claims must now include GPS georeferencing data when they are filed. Aboriginal consultation is required before any closure plan is filed or amended. Both an exploration permit and a bulk sample permit will be required before test mining.
More information about the changes to Ontario’s Mining Act are posted at Ontario.ca/miningact. The Act will be administered by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.