Modernizing the Mining Act

Introduction

The third phase of the Ontario government’s Modernizing the Mining Act (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 Modernizing the Mining Act would be implemented in two stages, with the first coming once legislation is passed.

Pre-Conversion to Start January 9, 2018 (Updated October 6, 2017)

Traditional claim staking in Ontario will come to an end on January 8, 2018. During this 90-day pre-conversion period (formerly referred to as the staking hiatus), claim recording activity will not be permitted, nor will other transactions such as transfers and the filing of assessment work reports. These implementation dates will allow conversion -- the process of taking mining claim holders’ existing ground or map staked mining claims (legacy claims) and transforming them into one or more cell claims or boundary claims on the provincial grid – as well as for exhaustive testing of the information technology architecture that will underpin MLAS, and provide enough time to enroll and train users on the new system prior to launch.

Implementation Dates for MLAS Stages 1 and 2

Full implementation of MLAS is scheduled for April 10, 2018. This will ensure that Ontario’s mineral exploration and development industry is fully prepared to work within the new system when it launches.

Stage 1 of MLAS will go into service on February 7, 2018. In Stage 1, claim holders will be able to:

  • log on to MLAS to set up their client profile (enrolment packages will be sent to all claim holders early in January)

Stage 2 will launch April 10th, 2018:

  • This stage captures all other aspects of Phase III implementation, including launching the online mining claim registration process, online access to the Mining Act Awareness Program (MAAP), obtaining or renewing a prospector’s licence online, and enabling online transaction of all mining lands administration matters.

Other Important Dates (Updated October 6, 2017):

Current to January 8, 2018 - We recommend you:

  • Confirm the mapped location of your mining claims (the ministry is currently reconciling claim locations based on client GPS data as well as other data sets).
  • Familiarize yourself with the recent legislative and proposed regulatory changes.
  • Review or subscribe to our update bulletins.
  • Visit CLAIMaps to generate a list of claim holdings and use our conversion demonstration tool if desired to view the potential outcomes of the conversion process.
  • Complete any staking of mining claims.
  • Complete and file assessment work reports and distributions.
  • Complete any other transactions affecting a mining claim (transfers, agreements, etc.).

January 9th, 2018 - Pre-Conversion Period Begins

  • During this period (formerly referred to as the staking hiatus), the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines will continue to work 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.
  • Clients will be able to submit a Claim Boundary Report (CBR) for a 30-day period. A CBR is a report that may be submitted by a claim holder to group claims so they will not merge at conversion.  

February 7th, 2018 - Launch of Stage 1 (see above)

February 9th, 2018 - Last day for clients to file a CBR

February 23rd, 2018 - Last day for clients to submit their Claim Boundary Report confirmation forms

Once claims have been grouped and a CBR submitted, clients need to download and complete the confirmation form and return it to MNDM. The CBR will not be processed unless the form is received by MNDM. 

February 23rd, 2018 – last day to file a draft plan of survey for lease.

February 26th, 2018 - Final Determination and Delineation

The Provincial Mining Recorder will make the final determination as to the location of legacy claims and delineate them on the provincial grid. Mining claims will then be legally defined by those coordinates and not by posts on the ground or township surveys.

March 2nd, 2018 - Last business day to submit an exploration plan or exploration permit until MLAS Stage 2 is launched

March 23rd, 2018 - Last business day for obtaining a new prospectors licence until conversion

April 10th, 2018 - Conversion

Conversion is the process of taking mining claim holders’ existing ground or map staked mining claims (legacy claims) and transforming them into one or more cell claims or boundary claims on the provincial grid.  As part of that process, existing mining claim locations will be delineated and legally defined by their coordinates on the map.

All legacy claims will convert at once. Legacy claims will not be cancelled but will be continued as cell claims or boundary claims that result from conversion. Dispositions (such as leases, patents, and licences of occupation) will not be converted, however, they will be viewable and certain transactions will be managed within MLAS.

When MLAS launches, Ontario’s mining lands data will become the most accurate it has ever been.  For the first time the location of mining claim boundaries shown on our maps will be based on precise Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) system coordinates. However, mapping data from sources that MNDM does not manage (e.g. parks or First Nation reserves), may not match the exact boundary locations on the ground. Read more about mapping data in our May Bulletin.

April 10th, 2018 - Stage 2 Launch

Ontario’s new Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS) is fully operational.

NOTE: All dates presented above require Cabinet approval.

MAM Update Bulletins

To receive our Modernizing the Mining Act update bulletins by email, please subscribe.

  • 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 – Proposed Legislation Introduced
  • May 2016 - Conversion is Coming
  • August 2016 - Proposed Changes to the Assessment Work Reg.
  • September 2016 - Have You Georeferenced Your Mining Claims?
  • Special Edition - Ontario Legislature Moving Forward With Mining Act Modernization Bill
  • October 2016 - September 1, 2017 Target Deadline for Georeferencing Mining Claims
  • Special Edition - Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act Called for Second Reading
  • November 2016 - Queen’s Park Debates Bill 39
  • December 2016 - Bill 39 Sent to Committee
  • January 2017 - Bill 39 Committee Hearings Scheduled
  • Special Edition - Sault Ste. Marie Mining Division Spatial Data Now Available
  • February 2017 - We Will Need Your Up-to-Date Mailing Address
  • Special PDAC Edition 2017 - See You at the 2017 PDAC Convention
  • March 2017- Bill 39 Standing Committee Review Completed
  • Special Edition - 2017 Ontario Prospectors Exploration Showcase Edition
  • April 2017- First New Proposed Regulations Posted For Public Comment on Provincial Registries
  • Special Edition - Ontario Legislature Passes Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act, 2017
  • May 2017 - Building A System On Highly Accurate Spatial Data
  • Special Edition - Larder Lake Mining Division Spatial Data Now Available
  • July 6, 2017 - New Proposed Regulatory Changes Posted on Provincial Registries
  • Special Edition - Porcupine Mining Division Spatial Data Now Available
  • Special Edition - Are You Ready?
  • August 2017 - New Conversion Demonstration Tool Available in CLAIMaps
  • Special Edition - Ontario’s Spatial Data Update Completed in CLAIMaps
  • September 2017 - New Proposed Regulations Posted to Ontario Environmental and Regulatory Registries
  • October 2017 - Final Phase of Modernizing Ontario’s Mining Act to Launch in January 2018

Ontario Legislature Passes Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act, 2017 (Updated May 15, 2017)

The Aggregate Resources and Mining Modernization Act, 2017 (Bill 39) was passed by the Ontario Legislature on a vote after the close of third reading debate on May 9th, and received royal assent on May 10th.  This legislation amends and modernizes 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.

With respect to modernizing the Mining Act, the new bill replaces legislative proposals originally contained in Bill 155, which was pre-empted by prorogation of the Ontario Legislature in September 2016.

Once proclaimed into force, the Mining Act amendments will implement online registration of mining claims and a new modernized electronic Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS) in Ontario.

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is currently developing the regulations that will inform the new law. The first two of these proposed regulations have been posted for public comment on Ontario’s environmental and regulatory registries.

You may view the current version of the Mining Act, showing the amendments where they will be once Bill 39 changes have been proclaimed. The parts not proclaimed will show as boxed/highlighted in grey (caution, if you download and print, the document is more than 100 pages in length).

Modernizing the Mining Act Glossary

Modernizing the Mining Act will introduce new or modified terminology and concepts related to mineral exploration and development in Ontario. We encourage our mineral exploration and development clients to become familiar with the terms listed in this MAM glossary.

New Data Sets to CLAIMaps (Updated September 18, 2017)

As part of our preparations for the legislative changes that will implement Phase III of modernizing the Mining Act, we have updated all the spatial data on CLAIMaps to more accurately show the location of unpatented mining claims, leases and patents that have been georeferenced. With the recent addition of data from the Thunder Bay Division, all nine mining divisions in Ontario now feature updated information.

You can log on to CLAIMaps and view this spatial data for the Porcupine, Kenora, Red Lake, Patricia, Southern Ontario, Sudbury, Larder Lake, Thunder Bay and Sault Ste. Marie Mining Divisions.

The information provided represents all unpatented mining claims that have gone through the georeferencing process for these divisions and demonstrates the realignment of leases and patents as well as the new lot and concession fabric.

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

Ontario will 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 will 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 will be legally defined by their cell on the grid and coordinate location in CLAIMaps. These proposed changes will 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.

How to View the Proposed Provincial Grid

To view the provincial mineral tenure grid proposed in Modernizing the Mining Act Phase 3 legislation, please follow these steps:

  1. Launch CLAIMaps IV
  2. Read through and accept the Disclaimer
  3. Click on the Map Information tab in the upper left hand corner
  4. Click on the Select Map Layers button in the upper left hand corner
  5. From the left navigation pane, click on the '+' symbol next to the word 'CLAIMaps'
  6. Still in the left navigation pane, click in the small box to the left of the words 'Mineral Tenure Grid'
  7. Click on the '+' symbol next to that small box to expand your viewing options for the Grid
  8. Please note that the ability to view the grid is scale sensitive.

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.

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.

NOTE: The regulation allowing assessment work credit for georeferencing mining claims staked prior to November 1, 2012 has been revoked. As of September 1, 2017, you are no longer be able to obtain $400 in assessment credit per claim unit for georeferencing your claims.

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.

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.
Boundary Cell

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 Claim Boundary 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

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 pre-conversion period and within the six months after the pre-conversion period will have its due date moved forward to prevent cancellation.

The Electronic Assessment System (EAS) will be shut down prior to the pre-conversion period.  During the pre-conversion period, 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 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.

For Further Information

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