TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – Ontario’s provincial government, under the leadership of Premier Dalton McGuinty, on Wednesday said new rules aimed at modernising the provincial Mining Act would come into effect in November.
The Ontario government announced new rules that would impose exploration plans and permits on anyone planning to undertake certain early exploration activities, requiring them to immediately inform private landowners or Aboriginal communities of the expected activity.
Exploration plans and permits would be voluntary from November 1, and become mandatory from April 1, 2013.
“We’ve brought a 100-year-old piece of legislation into the twenty-first century. Through these regulations, as well as our ongoing work with industry and Aboriginal communities, we can all ensure Ontario continues to be a leading jurisdiction for mineral exploration investment for decades to come,” Northern Development and Mines Minister Rick Bartolucci said.
An exploration permit would now also be required to take bulk samples of Crown minerals for testing purposes.
The provincial government said it intended to modernise the way companies staked and explored their claims, to be more respectful of Aboriginal communities and private landowners.
To this end, new criteria would be implemented that could help determine sites that were of social, cultural, sacred or ceremonial significance to Aboriginal communities, in order to help protect those sites from claim staking.
Currently, prospectors are required to report on yearly exploration work on their claims in order to earn assessment credits and keep claims in good standing. The regulatory changes would make qualified global positioning system data for existing mining claims and certain Aboriginal consultation costs eligible for assessment credits, or prospectors could make payments to maintain the claims, instead of reporting assessment work; however, some limitations would be imposed.
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