Seeking Feedback on Opportunities to Improve Ontario's Mineral Exploration Plans and Permits Regime.

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Mining Act
Summary of Proposal:
Increased global interest in Ontario's mineral resources, including critical minerals, has resulted in the Ministry of Mines (the "Ministry") seeing an increase in mining claim registrations and exploration spending by proponents.
The Ministry has heard from industry stakeholders that aspects of the current regulatory process are unduly time-consuming, costly, and difficult to navigate. To help Ontario remain competitive in the global exploration environment, the Ministry is committed to considering opportunities to remove unnecessary barriers to identifying and developing mineral supply for manufacturing in Ontario, consistent with Ontario's Critical Minerals Strategy.
The Ministry has also heard from some Indigenous communities that there is frustration with the number of notifications and separate consultation processes related to early exploration activity. The Ministry is committed to considering opportunities to improve administrative efficiency while continuing to meet Ontario's duty to consult with Indigenous communities where the proposed exploration activity has the potential to adversely impact credibly asserted or established Aboriginal or treaty rights.
The Ministry understands that Ontario's exploration plans and permits regime should reflect the fact that early exploration activities typically have a focused geographic scope, short duration, and limited impacts to the environment. The regime also should reflect and incorporate modern technologies used in the field by industry and ensure that Ontario continues to meet any duty to consult obligations.
To achieve this, Ontario is seeking input on opportunities to improve the early exploration plans and permitting processes under the Mining Act, and its associated regulation, O. Reg. 308/12 - Exploration Plans and Exploration Permits (the "Regulation"), as well as related policies and operational processes, such as the Provincial Standards for Early Exploration, the Ministry's Mapping Standards and Activity Details Report.
More specifically, the Ministry is seeking feedback on three broad themes: Modernizing Requirements for Exploration Plans and Permits and Encouraging Innovation; Increasing Flexibility in the Plans and Permitting Regime; and Reducing Administrative Burden and Increasing Efficiencies. Under each theme the Ministry has identified examples of initiatives that we are currently considering opportunities for improvement based on feedback from industry stakeholders and Indigenous communities. We invite you to provide feedback on these initiatives. However, these themes are meant to solicit important feedback you may have outside of these initiatives, and we encourage you to write to us explaining how other proposals could improve the exploration sector in Ontario.

The attached document, Improving the Graduated Approach to Early Exploration Plans and Permit Regime, provides further details on the Ministry's proposal and includes several questions to which you may respond.

Input gathered will inform any regulatory or policy changes that may be considered in the future which would be subject to consultation, including Ontario's obligations to consult with Aboriginal communities.
Analysis of Regulatory Impact:
The impact on regulated entities will be informed through these consultations.

Further Information:
Proposal Number:
Posting Date:
October 19, 2023
Comments Due Date:
December 4, 2023