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 1.6 of the Table of Contents to view update bulletins that are posted on this site.

MAM Phase III – Legislation:

In order to implement Phase III of Mining Act Modernization, technical amendments to the Mining Act would be required.  The proposed amendments are contained in the Mining Amendment Act, 2015 (Bill 155), which was introduced in the Legislature on Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2015.  The Bill received first reading and can be found on the Legislative Assembly website, under Current Bills.

Pre Transition Period

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is currently in the pre-transition period, working on updating claim maps to more accurately reflect the location of existing mining claims.  During this time, clients are encouraged to georeference their existing mining claims to Ministry Georeferencing Standards and resolve issues with the location of their mining claims by contacting the Provincial Mining Recorder.   For the convenience of clients the Ministry has uploaded a demonstration version of the proposed provincial grid for reference.

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.

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

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
  • 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 Patrick.brown@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

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 early summer of 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 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

SUBSCRIBE TO MAM UPDATE BULLETINS NOW!

To receive our Mining Act Modernization update bulletins by email, subscribe by contacting us at miningact@ontario.ca

  • March 2014 - Mining Lands Administration going Digital/Engaging Industry and Aboriginal Communities
  • July 2014 – Georeference Your Claims Now
  • August 2014 – How to Keep Your Prospector’s Licence Valid
  • March 2015 - Preview Ontario’s Proposed Provincial Grid/Moving from Ground-based to Cell-based Mining Claims
  • February 2016 [pdf] – Proposed Legislation Introduced
  • May 2016 [pdf] - Mining Act Modernization update

For Further Information

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