Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas
VICTORIA – 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 to determine the location of ore bodies).
* 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.
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.