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The Mining Act is a legal document which outlines all of the rules and regulations that apply to mining in Ontario. The purpose of the Act is to encourage prospecting, staking and exploration for the development of mineral resources, in a manner consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, including the duty to consult, and to minimize the impact of these activities on public health and safety and the environment.
Mining Act Modernization (MAM)
The Mining Act dates back to the 19th century.
Although many major advances in technology, policies and processes have occurred over the past century, the Mining Act has remained relatively unchanged. In an effort to improve and modernize the mineral development process in Ontario, a piece of legislation, Bill 173 - An Act to Amend the Mining Act was introduced. After extensive review, the bill was passed which resulted in the Mining Amendment Act, 2009. The amendment received Royal Assent on October 28, 2009. Bill 173 was passed in 2009 to modernize the Mining Act (the Act); and promote mineral exploration and development in a manner that recognizes Aboriginal and treaty rights, is more respectful of private landowners, and minimizes the impact of mineral exploration and development on the environment.
MNDM has taken a phased approach to implementing MAM and the changes introduced by Bill 173. While some changes came into effect on Royal Assent, most of the changes have been brought into effect over time as the relevant regulations and policies were developed following extensive stakeholder consultation.
- Changes to the Act, regulations and operational policies, which largely focused on private landowners, (e.g. notice of staking, mining land tax exemption), took effect in 2011.
- The majority of the changes to the Act came into effect in November 2012; they included provisions for exploration plans and permits, clarification of Aboriginal consultation requirements, criteria for protection of sites of Aboriginal cultural significance (SOACS), and the Mining Act Awareness Program. Further information on these changes to the Act.
- The purpose of the next step is to implement less intrusive claim staking by moving from current methods of acquiring Crown Land for mineral exploration (i.e. ground staking in Northern Ontario, and paper map staking in Southern Ontario) to online staking for the entire province. It would also modernize mining lands administration from the current paper-based processes to a digital-age electronic process.