Minister Oliver says mine approval process to get better – by Peter Koven (National Post – October 14, 2011)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper. 

TORONTO – Federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver says improvements to Canada’s endless regulatory approval process for new mines are “achievable” under the government’s current mandate.

Speaking to reporters after a presentation at the Toronto Board of Trade Thursday, Mr. Oliver expressed confidence he can eliminate duplication in federal and provincial reviews of projects, but warned it will be an extremely difficult process.

“We have to work with the provinces, so we can agree on a case-bycase basis whether it makes sense for one or the other to take over the review, or if there’s some way we can work together to avoid duplication,” he said.

One of the biggest frustrations for mining companies in Canada is that project approvals can be delayed for months because the federal and provincial governments are out of sync and are doing the same tasks. The lowest point came last November, when Ottawa rejected Taseko Mines Ltd.’s Prosperity mine over environmental concerns, even though it was previously approved by British Columbia.

Mr. Oliver said he is concerned approvals can take so long that they can undermine the economics of the project.

For the rest of this column, please go to the National Post website: