Seeking Input on Opportunities to Improve Ontario's Mineral Exploration Assessment Work Regime

Regulation Number(s):
Instrument Type:
Bill or Act:
Mining Act
Summary of Proposal:
In Ontario, pursuant to the Mining Act, prospectors looking to undertake early exploration work can register a mining claim on lands where mining rights are open for claim registration. A mining claim grants the holder of the claim the exclusive right to explore for minerals, after obtaining the necessary permitting, approvals and any required consultation, on a designated piece of land. In order for claim holders to keep their claims in good standing and maintain their right to explore for minerals, the Ministry of Mines ("Ministry") requires that claim holders actively explore the lands for minerals. This is called "assessment work".

Holders of unpatented mining claims must provide a report to the Ministry summarizing the assessment work that has been undertaken or, subject to certain limitations, make payments in place of completing the assessment work, on a periodic basis. Assessment work reports that are submitted to the Ministry are made available to the public and add to the overall geoscience knowledge of Ontario.

Ontario is committed to being a leading jurisdiction in mineral exploration and development to increase our global competitiveness. The Ministry invites you to provide feedback on overarching objectives for improving Ontario's early exploration assessment work regime, and potential initiatives outlined below and in the supporting attachment to this notice. The Ministry is also seeking to solicit important feedback you may have outside of these initiatives and encourages you to submit a written response explaining how other proposals could improve the exploration sector in Ontario.

· To maximize Ontario's competitiveness and work conducted on mining claims, the Ministry is seeking feedback on potential changes to:

o Annual Work Requirement;
o Grass Roots Prospecting Double Credit Incentive;
o Daily Rate/Sweat Equity; and
o Credits in Reserve

· To increase access to, and expand the availability of public geoscience data, the Ministry is seeking feedback on potential changes to:

o Work types, geoscience data, and related expenses eligible for assessment work credits.

· To minimize unnecessary administrative and reporting processes for the submittal of assessment work reports, the Ministry is seeking feedback on potential changes to:

o Proof of work/expense verification;
o Service standards and reporting processes;
o Submittable templates for assessment work and guidelines;
o Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS) improvements;
o Maximize lands available for mineral exploration and resolution of issues related to boundary claims; and
o General amendments including moving work types out of regulation and into policy, and removing work types that are underutilized.

The attached document, Improving Ontario's Assessment Work Regime, provides further details on the Ministry's proposal and includes several questions to which you may respond. The Ministry will consider the information and responses received as it continues to develop options to improve Ontario's assessment work regime.
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 5, 2023