On November 1, 2012, new rules under Ontario's recently
modified Mining Act (Act) took effect and could have a
significant impact on mineral exploration activities in Ontario.
Most of the high-level changes to the Act were passed in 2009 and
were the culmination of several years of consultation by the
Ministry of Northern Development and Mines (MNDM) with industry
stakeholders, environmental groups, private citizens and Aboriginal
communities. One of the most controversial changes for the mining
industry was the inclusion of a duty to consult affected Aboriginal
communities. The long-awaited details of how the Act modernization,
including the duty to consult, would work in practice became more
clear on October 3, 2012, when the MNDM released the regulations.
The regulations are to be fully implemented by April 1, 2013.
Of the new requirements on the resource industry, the most
impactful, particularly for junior players, is the requirement to
submit exploration plans or apply for exploration permits, both of
which include the duty to consult affected Aboriginal communities,
prior to any substantive exploration work commencing. These new
requirements are in contrast to the previous system, where no
permission was required to undertake explorative programs on mining
claims, leases or licences. The stated purpose of requiring a
consultation at an earlier stage includes the goal of achieving an
early-stage agreement between the mining company and any affected
Aboriginal communities, with a view to potentially avoiding such
later-stage challenges as those faced in the ongoing dispute
between Solid Gold Resources Corp. and Wahgoshig First Nation.
However, one unintended result of these new consultation
requirements could be to cause a significant delay in the
MNDM's process for allowing exploration, creating uncertainties
and resulting in cost increases for exploration companies who are
otherwise ready to start exploration work to preliminarily assess
the viability of claims.
Canada is a constitutional monarchy, a parliamentary democracy and a federation comprised of ten provinces and three territories. Canada's judiciary is independent of the legislative and executive branches of Government.
The Government of Alberta recently announced a number of policy changes that will impact the Alberta Electricity Market, composed of its generators, transmitters, distributors, retailers, electricity consumers and wholesale electricity market.
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