The Mining Act is the provincial legislation that governs and regulates prospecting, mineral exploration, mine development and rehabilitation 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 origins of the Mining Act date back to the 19th century. Prior to today’s modernization efforts, the most recent significant updates to the Act were made in the early 1990s, with new legislation at that time focusing on environmental and rehabilitation matters.
In 2009, Bill 173 - An Act to Amend the Mining Act, was passed into law. The modernization process is intended to promote mineral exploration and development in a manner that recognizes Aboriginal and treaty rights, to introduce processes that are more respectful of private landowners, and to minimize the impact of mineral exploration and development on the environment. These commitments were previously expressed in Ontario’s first-ever Mineral Development Strategy released in 2006 and reaffirmed in July 2008 when Ontario’s Premier announced steps to modernize the Mining Act.
MNDM is implementing Mining Act Modernization and the changes prescribed by Bill 173 using a phased-in approach. While some changes came into effect upon Royal Assent, most of the changes are being brought into effect over time. Relevant regulations and policies are being or have been developed following extensive consultation and in collaboration with many representatives of the mineral exploration sector, the mining industry, Aboriginal communities and organizations, environmental groups as well as many other stakeholders, private citizens and other parties with an interest in the stewardship of Ontario’s mining lands.
MAM Phase III
The proposed next step in the Mining Act Modernization process is to implement less intrusive claim staking by moving from current methods of ground staking and paper map staking, to online mining claim registration across the entire province. These next steps also propose modernizing Ontario’s mining lands administration processes from the current paper-based model to a digital-age electronic system.
Mining Act Modernization (Phase III)
MAM Phase I and II
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 (Phase I and II)