A proposal is underway to create a separate set of mining
regulations for each of Nunavut and Northwest Territories.
At present, Northwest Territories and Nunavut
Mining Regulations, enacted under the federal Territorial
Lands Act, govern many aspects of mining on Crown lands in
those two Territories. These Regulations govern royaly payments,
licencing, prospecting permits, mineral claims, mineral leases,
The Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development is
proposing to split the existing Regulations in two, resulting in
the Northwest Territories Mining Regulations and the
Nunavut Mining Regulations. Part of the motivation for the
split is to prepare the legal foundation for the NWT devolution,
scheduled for April 1, 2014. Another reason is to facilitate
implementation of a new online mineral tenure acquisition system in
Nunavut (scheduled for November 1, 2014), to replace the current
process of acquiring mineral claims by physical staking on the
ground. The two new federal Regulations (very similar in tenour)
are expected to come into force on April 1, 2014, and their
publication on June 29, 2013 ushered in a 60-day period for
stakeholder feedback, which ended on August 28. Responses received
are now under study by the Department.
Most of the changes contemplated by the proposed new Regulations
are administrative in nature, such as:
Deregulating forms to allow greater flexibility to make
Using clear, modern regulatory language, clarifying definitions
and the wording of some provisions,
Repealing some obsolete provisions;
Replacing certain discretionary powers of departmental
officials with specific criteria;
Establishing a payment and refund scheme to guarantee work
being performed on a claim, using the Financial Administration
Act as legal authority for such a scheme;
Reducing duplication with other legislation (e.g. re
Repealing dispute resolution provisions governing access
disputes between surface rights holders and prospectors.
Changing the annual date for applying to the Mining Recorder
for prospecting permits from the period between December 1 and
December 31, to the much longer period between February 1 and the
last business day of November, in order to grant additional time
for notification and technical review of work planned in the permit
area. (Notification is given by the Mining Recorder to stakeholders
like Aboriginal groups and other federal departments and
Changing the deadline to apply for a mineral lease from the
10th to the 9th anniversary of the claim, so as to ensure
continuity of the mineral tenure;
Permitting claims holders to surrender their claims at any
time, by submitting a cancellation request and prescribed fee to
the Mining Recorder;
Clarifying the power of the Minister of Indian Affairs and
Northern Development to delay the reopening of lands for staking
and prospecting and to take or manage remedial measures, where
those lands are environmentally damaged as a result of the previous
owner failing to fulfill his environmental protection
Clarifying the power of the Minister to dispose of lands
forming part of a cancelled mineral claim or leased claim where the
cancellation has resulted from insolvency proceedings or by the
realization of security.
Providing for suspension of work requirements and the payment
of charges, if a claim holder company has received a court order
under the Companies' Creditors Arrangement Act;
Clarifying the rules on prospecting permits.
Extensions of time for completing work required to maintain a
mineral claim in good standing will be limited to three extensions
in the 10-year duration of the mineral claim. Payments in lieu of
work will have to be made for each extension, and the claim holder
will be reimbursed if work is performed later within the period of
validity of the claim.
In addition, the proposed changes will significantly reduce the
administrative costs related to reporting on work. Many
requirements of reporting and inspections will be removed; other
reports will be simplified and their production in electronic
format will be authorized.
It is anticipated that the two new sets of Regulations will
modernize and streamline the legal structure of mineral tenure in
Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, reducing administrative
costs and time considerably, to the satisfaction of mining
interests and (it is hoped) thus stimulating mining development in
the two Territories affected.
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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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