Amendments no longer required for low-impact activities where permit in place
Today, March 8, 2013, the Association for Mineral Exploration BC (AME BC) acknowledged the provincial government’s decision to exempt some low-impact activities from permit amendments when a Mines Act permit is already in place.
“Today’s announcement demonstrates that the provincial government is committed to streamlining regulations for mineral explorers,” said Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO of AME BC. “The exemption of low-impact activities from additional permitting will reduce unnecessary paperwork and delays for our members, for government and for First Nations. At the same time, it will maintain the existing requirement for the government to consult First Nations before the start of a mineral exploration program and to notify First Nations about changes in the nature or duration of these programs.”
Under regulation effective September 1, 2013, induced polarization geophysical surveys, exploration drill programs on producing mines and extensions of proposed exploration work for up to two years will be allowed to proceed with notification to the provincial government.
“The provincial government has stated its commitment to streamline mineral exploration permitting while maintaining health, safety and environmental standards,” noted Michael McPhie, Chair of the Board of Directors of AME BC. “We are pleased to see that the province has honoured its commitment to deliver legislation that will allow the work of our membership to discover and develop mineral resources for the benefit of all British Columbians.”MINING PERMITS' PROCESS STREAMLINEDMinistry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas
Starting September 2013, mining permit amendments will no longer be required for some low-impact exploration activities. This will streamline the permitting process and allow resources to be focused on higher-impact projects like larger-scale exploration.
Currently, permits are required for all mine-related projects, including some small-scale mineral exploration that are low-risk and cause little-to-no health, safety or environmental concerns.
As a result of this change, the following will be authorized to go ahead on projects where a Mines Act permit has already been granted:
* Induced polarization (charging the ground with an electrical current and measuring the response).
* Further exploration drill programs on operating mine sites.
* Extending the timing of proposed exploration work by up to two years.
The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas receives over 500 applications for mineral and coal exploration work a year. Once in effect, these exemptions will reduce the number of these applications by up to 15 per cent or about 80 amended permits. The changes should also reduce unnecessary paperwork and processing delays.
Under the new rules, exploration companies must provide 30 days advance notice and information on the planned low-impact activity to a mines inspector. The Province then notifies the appropriate First Nations who could be affected by the work.
In fall 2012, the provincial government consulted with industry, First Nations and the public on the permitting of low-impact exploration activities, resulting in these exemptions.
This regulation delivers on the commitment made in British Columbia's May 2012 Mineral Exploration and Mining Strategy to develop regulations to exempt low-risk exploration and mining activities from requiring Mines Act permits while maintaining health, safety and environmental standards. Quick Facts:
* The production value of mining in British Columbia for 2012 is $7.4 billion.
* In 2012, exploration spending was valued at $680 million.
* Mining revenues to government in 2011 were a record $805 million - up $114 million from 2010 levels and up from $370 million in 2001.
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas: http://www.gov.bc.ca/ener/