Mining Act Modernization

Introduction

The third phase of the Ontario government’s Mining Act Modernization (MAM) process has two main components:

  1. Moving Ontario’s mining lands administration systems from ground staking and paper map staking to online registration of mining claims; and
  2. Creating an online Mining Land Administration System (MLAS) that would enhance client access to Ontario’s mining lands data and improve their ability to manage their files online.

Phase III implementation would require technical amendments to the Mining Act, implementation of a new online Mining Lands Administration System, as well as a comprehensive process that would allow for as seamless and effective transition and conversion as possible to the new system.

Phase III of Mining Act Modernization would be implemented in two stages, with the first coming once legislation is passed.

MAM Phase III - Stage 1

The following services would be delivered online through MLAS and available to clients and stakeholders at any time:

MAM Phase III - Stage 2

This stage would capture all other aspects of Phase III implementation, including integrating existing mining claims into the new system, launching the online mining claim registration process, and enabling online transaction of all mining lands administration matters. MNDM would keep clients informed as implementation processes are finalized. 

For additional information, please refer to the Frequently Asked Questions or click on section 17 of the Table of Contents to view update bulletins that are posted on this site.

MAM Phase III – Legislation (November 23, 2016):

On October 6th at Queen’s Park, Ontario introduced the Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act (Bill 39), a bill to amend and modernize both the Mining Act under the auspices of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry’s Aggregate Resources Act. On October 27th, Bill 39 was called for second reading. After more than nine hours of debate over a number of days, second reading occurred and on November 15th the bill was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy for review.  The committee will decide how, where and when to entertain public comment and then will review the Bill section by section and consider amendments.

Read more about how bills are made into law in Ontario.  With respect to modernizing the Mining Act, the new bill replaces legislative proposals contained in Bill 155, which was pre-empted by prorogation of the Ontario Legislature in September.

NOTE: The section of the Aggregate and Mining Modernization Act relating to Ontario’s Mining Act is contained in Schedule 2 of the bill (you will need to scroll down from the top of the page to the section bearing the heading – Schedule 2 – Amendments to the Mining Act.)

You can learn more about the MNRF Aggregate Resources Act.

We’re Adding New Data Sets to CLAIMaps (Updated November 23, 2016)

As part of our preparations for implementation of proposed legislative changes to the Mining Act in order to implement Phase III of modernizing the Mining Act, we are in the process of updating the spatial data on CLAIMaps to more accurately show the location of unpatented mining claims, leases and patents that have been georeferenced.

You can log on to CLAIMaps and view this new spatial data for the Kenora, Red Lake, Patricia and Southern Ontario Mining Divisions. Over the coming year, this new data will be made available for the other five mining divisions as they are updated.

The information provided represents all unpatented mining claims that have gone through the georeferencing process for these four mining divisions -- it demonstrates the realignment of leases and patents as well as the new lot and concession fabric that would apply under the proposed legislation.

To present this information, the Provincial Recording Office plotted the coordinates of new surveys it received onto the CLAIMaps disposition layer. The information is verified by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry and uploaded into their Land Information Ontario (LIO) database.

We then reviewed the georeferenced claims and used the best available data to adjust boundaries as needed. Clients are then able to see the accurate location of georeferenced older claims and newly recorded claims.

For assistance or more information on these new data sets please contact Léanne Messier at 1-888-415-9845 ext 5793 or email at leanne.messier@ontario.ca

Conversion is Coming

Legislation enabling the third phase of Ontario’s work to modernize the Mining Act proposes to convert Ontario’s manual system of ground and paper staking, and maintaining unpatented mining claims to an online system. At conversion, ALL active, unpatented claims would be converted from their legally defined location by claim posts on the ground or by township survey to a cell-based provincial grid. Following conversion, the claims would be legally defined by their cell on the grid and coordinate location in CLAIMaps. These proposed changes would bring greater accuracy and certainty to the location of mining claims, greater certainty of rights and interests, as well as offer flexible management of land assets.

Pre-Conversion Period

We are currently in the pre-conversion period leading up to proposed conversion and the full launch of the online Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS). During this period, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is working on updating CLAIMaps to more accurately reflect the location of existing mining claims, designing the new system and reaching out to clients to help increase awareness.

Being Ready Is Your Responsibility

It is your responsibility as a claim holder to remain informed and engaged in the process in order to manage your claims and interests, know your role and obligations, and to maximize the opportunities and benefits of the new system. We encourage you to refer to our online Pre-Conversion Checklist below to help prepare for the proposed changes. It is your responsibility to understand conversion and the impacts of changes contained in the proposed legislation.

What is Conversion?

The process of conversion is the changeover of ground and paper staked mining claims (legacy claims) to cell based claims in the new Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS). Existing mining claims at the time of conversion will be realigned with and registered on the grid as cell based mining claims.

A new cell claim will be created where an existing claim occupies a cell on the new grid.

Where two or more legacy claims occupy a cell and the legacy claims are held by different claim holders, a boundary claim will be registered for each of the claim holders whose legacy claim occupied the cell. Each boundary claim holder would hold the mining claim rights to the same portion of cell as was occupied by the legacy claim.

Where two or more legacy claims occupy a cell and all legacy claims are held by the same claim holder, a new cell claim will be registered.  If a claim holder does not want two or more claims registered as one cell claim, the claim holder can choose to have each portion of the cell registered as separate boundary claims, and have one boundary cell registered for each portion of the cell occupied by each of the legacy claims. Choosing this option will maintain separate registered mining claims with the boundaries remaining consistent with the legacy claim boundaries.

A new abstract will be created for each of these cell claims and boundary claims which will replace the legacy claim. All claims and abstracts from the historical system will be archived and a link to the legacy information will be available in each cell.

These changes will bring greater accuracy and certainty of the location of claim holders’ mining claim and rights, interests, and offer flexible management of your land assets.

In the example below, the legacy claim intersects four grid cells and will convert to four cell claims. Each of these cell claims has its own abstract as well as its own work requirements. Cells are approximately 17-22 Ha in size.
An image of four legacy claims intersecting a single cell block

Protect Your Land Assets/Georeference (GPS) Your Claim

There may be discrepancies between the location of claim boundaries as staked on the ground and where the claims have been mapped and shown in CLAIMaps. At conversion, the physical location of posts will no longer be valid and the current CLAIMaps’ position of the claims will become their legally recognized position. To resolve any discrepancies in advance of conversion, all claim holders are encouraged to review the current position of their unpatented mining claims on the ground with respect to their mapped position as shown in CLAIMaps by georeferencing the location of the claim posts in the field (with a GPS).

When should I consider using a GPS to better locate my unpatented mining claim?

  • If your claim has a high value asset such as an ore body located near its boundary
  • If your claim is subject to agreements
  • If you think CLAIMaps does not accurately represent the location of your claim
  • If you think another party has over-staked your claim
  • If your claim was staked prior to November 1st , 2012 (in unsurveyed areas) and has not already been georeferenced and mapped consistent with the GPS coordinates

If any of the above applies to you, then you should strongly consider georeferencing your claim boundaries.

This work can be claimed for assessment credit for claims staked prior to November 1, 2012.

Below is a conceptual illustration of the potential impact of NOT georeferencing prior to conversion.

An image illustrating potential boundary shifts after conversion

How should I georeference?

For information on how to georeference your claims, please download the Georeferencing Standards for Unpatented Mining Claims document. The accuracy in this standard may be affected by field conditions which degrade signal quality such as:

  • Tree cover
  • Clouds
  • Topography
  • Time of day (satellite positions)
  • The number of averaged readings taken
  • How long the GPS is stationary

It is your responsibility to use a GPS method with a level of accuracy that reflects the standards in which you are confident based on the margin of error you are willing to accept. Time is limited. The Ministry proposes ending this opportunity prior to conversion.

Pre-Conversion Awareness Checklist

Are You Ready?

Be aware that claims and claim boundaries will be changed to the cell based grid. Be informed and mitigate risk and maximize the benefits of the new system. The following checklist will help increase your awareness of conversion and prepare a sound Pre- Conversion Plan:

  • Learn more about the proposed legislative and regulatory changes.
    NOTE: The section of the Aggregate and Mining Modernization Act relating to Ontario’s Mining Act is contained in Schedule 2 of the bill (you will need to scroll down from the top of the page to the section bearing the heading – Schedule 2 – Amendments to the Mining Act.)
  • Georeference (GPS) your claims and report your coordinates
  • Confirm the physical location of your claim posts on the ground with the location and coordinates as shown in CLAIMaps
  • Understand post-conversion claim management (organization of cell fabric)
  • Review your mining claim’s holdings, interests, obligations and arrangements
  • Submit Client Boundary Claim Report (if needed to choose create boundary claims) and run through one-on-one Demo Conversion Module (schedule by contacting miningact@ontario.ca)
  • confirm conversion results match your objectives to manage your mining claim
  • interests, obligations and arrangements
  • Submit outstanding assessment reports
  • Lease planning and initiation
  • Register and set up profile accounts in the Mining Lands Administration System, complete the Mining Act Awareness Program, apply for or renew your prospector’s licence

Cell and Claim Types (Post Conversion)

Legacy Claim

Legacy claims are existing mining claims under the current staking process. All active legacy claims will be automatically converted into cell based claims on a date set by the Ministry.

Claim Cell

A mining claim, other than a boundary claim, relating to all the land open for claim registration within one cell on the provincial grid.

Boundary Cell

A cell on the provincial grid, which as a result of legacy claims, contains one or more boundary claims. Below is an example of a boundary cell.
An image of three legacy claims with different claim holders intersecting a single cell in the new system

Boundary Claim

A claim created only at conversion when:

Two or more legacy claims (or parts of claims) held by different claim holders convert and are located in the same cell. The legacy claims within this cell become boundary claims and the cell becomes a boundary cell.

Or

Two or more legacy claims (or parts of claims) with the same claim holder, convert and are located in the same cell, and the claim holder has elected prior to conversion (via a Client Boundary Claim Report) to prevent the automatic merger of those claims into one single cell claim. This results in separate boundary claims and the cell becomes a boundary cell.

Encumbered Cells

The cell is not fully available due to other restrictions on the land. An encumbrance on the cell can be any one of the following:

  • First Nation Reserve
  • Provincial Park
  • Mining Rights Only Leases, Surface and Mining Rights Leases
  • Mining rights Only Patents, Surface and Mining Rights

Below is an example of encumbered cells.
An image of two cells that are encumbered by a provincial park

Staking Hiatus

The staking hiatus is the period of time when no claim registration activity would be permitted across Ontario during which the province converts to its online claim registration system. As a result of feedback from the exploration community, the originally proposed hiatus period of 120 days has been reduced to 90 days and efforts are being made to further reduce this period of inactivity. 

The decision to freeze the entire province leading up to implementation of the new system was made because it would allow for conversion that is fair, would treat all claims in the same manner, would be shorter, and would create less disruption overall than multiple staking hiatuses.

Clients would be notified of the hiatus through the various communications that MNDM currently uses to communicate with clients.

When this occurs will be subject to passage of legislation and other subsequent steps required prior to implementation of stage 2.

Final Determination

Final determination is the point at which the Provincial Mining Recorder would deem the final delineation and location of legacy claims on the provincial grid when grid coordinates and the final legacy claim locations would be frozen (i.e. would no longer be changed) before conversion. Final determination would occur about 45 days after the staking hiatus and after any last ground or paper staking applications have been recorded.

Proposed Guidelines Affecting Assessment Work

Some of the current assessment work regulations will be changing:

  • The deadline for obtaining assessment work credit for georeferencing a mining claim staked prior to November 1, 2012 will be September 1, 2017.
  • Any claim coming due that is impacted by the staking hiatus and within the six months after the staking hiatus will have its due date moved forward to prevent cancellation.

The Electronic Assessment System (EAS) will be shut down prior to the staking hiatus.  During the staking hiatus, there will be a prohibition on (among other things):

  • filing of assessment work reports
  • distribution of assessment credits
  • applying cash-in-lieu

At conversion, any reserve or banked credit (including consultation credit) on a legacy claim will be rolled together and moved to a conversion credit bank and placed on a central cell derived from the legacy claim. Claimholders will be able to reallocate the reserve after conversion to any of the converted cell and boundary claims that are created from the legacy claim.

The current Assessment Work Regulation will be updated and some of the contents will be moved to a Technical Standard to allow the Ministry to respond more quickly to industry changes.

Proposed Changes to Assessment Rules - Post Conversion

After the launch of the Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS), the owner/agent/distribution manager will be able to submit assessment work through MLAS:

  • Owner(s)/agent/distribution manager will enter into MLAS and follow the submit assessment work report links to the online templates and forms.
  • Assessment work transactions will be completed on-line and paper copies of work reports and forms or electronic copies of work reports (on CDs) other than what is submitted through MLAS will not be accepted.
  • Assessment work deadline will be midnight on the anniversary date of the mining claim even if that day falls on a weekend or statutory holiday.
  • Assessment work requirements per cell claim will be $400.
  • Assessment work requirements per boundary claim will be $200.
  • New proposed requirement, assessment work cannot be filed on patents that are not “mining” patents. The filing of assessment work on a patent triggers liability to mining land tax.
  • The distribution of assessment credit will no longer be tied to when the work was performed or to the time the beneficial interest came into effect.
  • Approved assessment credit will go directly into the reserve of the claim where the work was performed. All distributions of credit will be withdrawn from the reserve.

MAM Update Bulletins

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For Further Information

To contact us about Mining Act Modernization Phase III, please email miningact@ontario.ca, or telephone 1 888-415-9845.