Recently, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (the
"Ministry") posted proposed regulations pursuant to
section 176 of the Mining Act on Ontario's Environmental
Registry (the "EBR"). The proposed regulations attempt to
clarify Aboriginal Consultation requirements for early exploration
activities with a graduated system of consultation which will
reflect the type of activity that is taking place on the land. The
Proposals have been posted for a 50 day public review and comment
period which will continue until May 01, 2012.
The proposed regulations are:
An Amendment to the General Regulation (O. Reg 45/11) (the
"General Regulation") (EBR 011-5733)
An Amendment to the Assessment Regulation (O. Reg 6/96) (the
"Assessment Regulation") (EBR 011-5786)
An Amendment to Mine Development and Closure under Part VII of
the Mining Act (O. Reg 240/00) (the "Mine Closure
Regulation") (EBR 011-5787)
A new regulation titled Exploration Plans and Permits (the
"Exploration Regulation") (EBR 011-5733)
The Exploration Regulation
The Exploration Regulation proposes a graduated system of
Aboriginal consultation requirements for early exploration mining
activities. The graduated system is based on two classes of early
exploration activities requirements: Exploration Plans and
Both classes of requirements require the exponent of the
exploration activities to provide information about all Aboriginal
consultation that has taken place or is planned to take place. For
Exploration Plans this would be noted in a Consultation Report and
this would be contained in the Application for an Exploration
Exploration Plans involve lower impact activities and can be
approved within 30 days of being submitted to the Ministry.
An Exploration Permit involves low to moderate impact activities
and can be approved within 31-50 days of filing the application but
not before. Exploration Permits would be posted on the EBR and have
a provision for alternative dispute resolution ("ADR")
provision between Aboriginal group and the exponent.
The Mine Closure Regulation
The Mine Closure Regulation proposes that Aboriginal
consultation is to be carried out before a certified Closure Plan
is submitted. It also includes a provision for dispute resolution
between a proponent of a closure plan and an Aboriginal community
where there are concerns about impacts on Aboriginal or Treaty
The General Regulation
The General Regulation proposes to add criteria for Sites of
Aboriginal Cultural Significance which can be withdrawn from
staking. The proposed criteria are: association with an Aboriginal
community for social, cultural, ceremonial or sacred reasons, a
fixed location on a map and documentation and support by the
The proposed Assessment Regulation would make Aboriginal
consultation costs eligible for assessment work credits but only
when actual geoscience assessment work is submitted.
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