Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Rich Coleman today announced a package of regulatory changes designed to cut red tape and make exploration and mining more efficient in B.C.
The package includes:
- A new policy so that industry can apply for a Multi-Year Area-Based permit. This will mean that industry can avoid having to apply for multiple permits when working in the same exploration area.
- On Jan. 28, a new electronic application system was announced by Premier Christy Clark at Round Up. Beginning this February, the provincial government will shift to this new system for natural resource-related projects in B.C. The first electronic application to be added to the new system will be a Notice of Work application.
- In the coming months, the Province will also finalize a review of the existing mineral and coal-land reserves. More than 50,000 hectares of land have already been made available for exploration as a result of this review.
These changes will be implemented over the coming months. Once completed, they will provide mineral exploration and mining companies with new tools to conduct business more efficiently and eliminate red tape and unnecessary administration.
Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas and Minister Responsible for Housing Rich Coleman -
"These initiatives will make it easier to do business in British Columbia. Our government is working hard to cut red tape while continuing to maintain our high health, safety and environmental standards for the mineral exploration and mining industry."
Gavin C. Dirom, president and CEO, Association of Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) -
"Many of our members will see the benefits of multi-year, multi-area permitting. And we welcome the shift to a transparent online notice of work process as well as changes to the Mines Act that will reduce red tape."
Karina Briño, president and CEO, Mining Association of BC -
"The changes being initiated by the government of B.C. to affect a more streamlined regulatory framework will provide the mining and exploration sector greater confidence in moving projects ahead, while at the same time, increasing investor confidence in our provincial regulatory system which helps strengthen the B.C. economy."
- A new online application system will be delivered in 2013 through FrontCounter BC. Starting in February 2013 the provincial government will be shifting to more electronic applications for B.C.'s natural resource related authorizations.
- To attract more opportunities and make B.C. more competitive, the Province will work with the federal government to eliminate regulatory duplication and develop a single, effective environmental assessment process.
- The B.C. government achieved an 84 per cent reduction in the 2011 mining permit backlog two months before the target completion date of August 2012 set out in the BC Jobs Plan. The backlog has now been reduced by 94 per cent.
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas http://www.gov.bc.ca/ener/
A backgrounder follows.
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas
New regulatory framework to advance exploration and mining
Multi-year, area-based permitting for exploration
- New policy throughout the province that will work with the new e-application system to make the permitting process more efficient.
- Consultation with First Nations about potential effects over a period of time and a defined area before exploration activities are permitted.
- The change allows the industry to take a longer-term approach to planning. This would mean that industry can avoid multiple-permitting for the same area.
Review of mineral, placer and coal land reserves
- As part of the B.C. Mineral Exploration and Mining Strategy, industry asked the provincial government to conduct a review of the available land-base.
- To date, 89 per cent of the existing 2,392 mineral, placer and coal land reserves have been reviewed to see if more land could be made available for exploration.
- In addition to more than 50,000 hectares of land being made available for exploration, a number of conditional reserves that were in place (encompassing 700,000 hectares of land) now have been removed.
- By freeing up more land, industry will be able to assess the potential of new mineral and coal deposits for possible development.
Ministry of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas