Exploration and Developing Minerals in Ontario

Mining Sequence

Mining is the process of extracting valuable minerals or other geological materials from the earth.

Mining involves a number of stages which occur in a sequence. This sequence of stages is known as the mining sequence. The mining sequence covers all aspects of mining, including: prospecting for ore bodies, analysis of the profit potential of a proposed mine, extraction of the desired materials and, once a mine is closed, the restoration of all lands used for mining to their original state.


The mining sequence is divided into six stages. Each stage represents a certain period in the life of a mineral deposit. The stages, ordered chronologically from earliest and following the order in which they occur, include:

  1. Consultation - communicate all actions and intentions with those who will be affected by mining sequence activities
  2. Exploration - gather data about potential mineral deposits and acquire the rights to harvest those mineral deposits
  3. Evaluation - determine which mineral deposit has the most profit potential
  4. Development - construction of a mine or mines
  5. Production - operation of the mine or mines
  6. Closure - demolition of the mine or mines and rehabilitation of all lands used for mining

Assigning Client Agents in MLAS (February 2018)

You will be required to reassign your agents in MLAS to act on your behalf to submit an exploration plan or apply for an exploration permit.  Agent letters will no longer be sufficient.

Plans, Permits Will Require Contiguity (February 2018) 

The mining claims included in a submitted exploration plan or a permit application, must be in cells that share a common boundary. A separate exploration plan or permit application will be required for any mining claims that do not share a common boundary.

Plans, Permits Apply to Original Legacy Claim Area (February 2018)

When a legacy claim converts with an exploration plan or permit already in effect, the plan or permit continues with respect to the same area as it did before conversion, even if the legacy claim has expanded into a new cell claim or boundary claim. If you wish to expand the area included in your plan or permit, you will need to apply for an amendment.  The new claim numbers will be posted on claim holders bulletin boards in MLAS.

Proposed Amendments to O.  Reg. 308/12 (February 2018) 

  • Claim holders will be required to verify they have completed the Mining Act Awareness Program (MAAP) within no more than five years prior to the start of activities proposed in their plan or permit application;
  • You will be able to include exploration plan activities on a permit application. The application will then follow the permit application process; this will streamline the process enabling proponents to propose all plan and permit activities under one application;
  • The Director of Exploration will have greater discretion in requiring a permit for any exploration activity;
  • Regulatory language related to amendments dealing with project scope or changes in proposed activities will be clarified;
  • the definition of “circulation date” will be updated to mean either the date on which the Aboriginal community is notified or, if no Aboriginal community consultation is required, the date on which the Director of Exploration sends a notice to the proponent advising the submitted plan or permit application has been received and includes all the required information;
  • We will clarify how the regulation applies with respect to mining lands within the boundaries of a filed closure plan.

Exploration Plans

An Exploration Plan is a document provided to ENDM by an Early Exploration Proponent indicating the location and dates for prescribed early exploration activities.

Exploration Permits

An Exploration Permit is an instrument which allows an early exploration proponent to carry out prescribed early exploration activities at specific times and in specific locations.

How Do I Find Out More About Exploration Plans and Permits That Have Been Submitted?

Exploration Plans & Permits that have been submitted are included on the Exploration Plans & Permits Table.


The Mines and Minerals Division employs a number of mineral exploration and development consultants who are available to discuss the details of a mineral development project and to provide guidance and oversight. To get in touch with a consultant, contact the Mineral Exploration and Development Section or one of their local offices.

A number of resources are also available to help properly plan and implement a mineral development project through all stages of the mining sequence. These resources includes:

  • Regulatory Requirements Outside of ENDM provides a listing and descriptions of some of the regulatory permits and other requirements for common activities related to mineral exploration and development activities.  The pdf document contains a left side navigation pane.  If your browser does not show this pane, save the pdf file to your computer and view with Adobe Acrobat Reader.
  • 'One Window' Coordination Process - provides an overview of legislation and regulations, including environmental assessments and details on how to work with the Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines to co-ordinate with other regulators
  • The Project Definition Template provides a clear outline of what information proponents should collect at the early stage of project planning in order to maximize the amount of advice that regulators can provide them. This will result in speedier and more effective delivery of regulatory advice and, thus, of permits and approvals.

Call Us

For further information or assistance on matters related to planning and implementing a mineral development project through any stage of the mineral development process, please don't hesitate to call us at 1-888-414-9845