Exploration and Developing Minerals in Ontario


Ontario Regulation 308/12 Exploration Plans and Permits Forms and Instructions Update

November 27, 2017 - The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines has introduced new exploration plan/permit application forms and instructions to further support the administration of the Exploration Plans and Permits Regulation. Proponents have a 30-day period, ending on December 26, 2017, during which they must transition to these new requirements.

We also remind our clients that exploration plans and exploration permit applications will be submitted online through our electronic, online 24/7 Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS) once it is fully operational on April 10, 2018.

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

Ontario Regulation 308/12 - Important Notice

November 27, 2017 - The Ministry has updated the exploration plan and exploration permit forms used by for early exploration. All ministry clients should be aware that:

  1. New forms and instructions are being introduced as part of ongoing efforts to support the administration of the regulation that became mandatory in 2013; and
  2. Plans and permit processes will be affected by implementation of the electronic Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS) under Phase 3 of modernizing the Mining Act.

Exploration Plans

An Exploration Plan is a document provided to MNDM 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 (updated regularly).


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 MNDM 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.
  • A Practitioner's Guide - provides a reference for planning and implementing a mineral development project through all stages of the mineral development process
  • 'One Window' Coordination Process - provides an overview of legislation and regulations, including environmental assessments and details on how to work with the Ministry of 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.