Regulation - Minister

Proposal to make consequential administrative amendments to several regulations under the Mining Act

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Regulation - Minister
Bill or Act:
Bill 71, Building More Mines Act, 2023
Summary of Proposal:
Currently, a closure plan must be submitted by the proponent, and filed by the Ministry with all required information before advanced exploration or mine production can begin. Some of these requirements are not relevant until much later when specific mine features are being constructed. There currently is no flexibility in the Mining Act for a closure plan to be filed without the presence of all materials, regardless of when the features will be constructed.

Closure plans must be accompanied by financial assurance in an amount equivalent to the costs of the rehabilitation measures specified in the closure plan. The purpose of financial assurance is to provide the Crown with the resources to rehabilitate a mine site if the proponent is unwilling or unable to do so. Financial assurance is at a cost to proponents. The current process requires proponents to provide financial assurance for all features identified in their closure plan before advanced exploration or mine development begins. This creates a significant financial burden to proponents and can impact the viability of some projects.

Since closure plans evolve with the site, it may not be practical to provide all information for features that may never be constructed and rehabilitation measures that cannot always be predicted into the future. Similarly, providing Financial Assurance up front is often unnecessary as sometimes proposed features may never be constructed and associated rehabilitation costs never materialize.

The Ministry of Mines is proposing, through Bill 71, to make regulatory amendments that set out procedural requirements for these processes. These requirements are intended to give the Minister of Mines the information he or she needs to make these decisions.

Where these decisions would trigger the Crown's duty to consult, Ontario will discharge its duty before the decision is made.

The proposed regulatory changes covered in this proposal relate to closure planning, and include:

• The creation of a procedure that mining companies ("proponents") can request an order from the Minister providing for the conditional filing of a closure plan.
o The goal is to require enough information for the Minister to make an informed decision about whether the request should be accepted, and if so, what the appropriate timeline for submission should be.
• An amendment to the process of providing financial assurance to allow proponents to submit financial assurance associated with their closure plan in phases to match the development/construction schedule of the site ("phased financial assurance").
o This is intended to align the timing of the submission of financial assurance to the actual construction schedule of the site, so that financial assurance is received when needed but not before.
• Removal of the statutory role of Director of Mine Rehabilitation and transfer of its statutory authorities to the Minister. This would involve consequential amendments to the following regulations:
o O. Reg. 240/00
o O. Reg. 45/11
o O. Reg. 242/08
o O. Reg. 349/98
• The development of a transitional regulation to allow changes to the Mining Act to be implemented in an orderly fashion to avoid prejudicing proponents who have already started the mining sequence.

Information on the legislative amendments proposed in Bill 71 that created the requirement for these regulatory administrative amendments can be found in ERO 019-6715, 019-6717, and 019-6718.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The impact on regulated entities will be informed through these consultations.
Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
March 9, 2023
Comments Due Date:
April 23, 2023