Mineral Prospecting and Exploration

Consultation at Notice of Work Application Stage

Overview of BC Law

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, on receipt of the Notice of Work, refers it to other affected government agencies and stakeholders, including First Nations. The legal basis for referring the Notice of Work to First Nations stems from the Crown’s duty to consult, and it is not explicitly required by the relevant legislation.53 Although different levels of consultation are required for different types of exploration activities, most cases provide First Nations and other stakeholders with a short 30-day comment period.54


The 30-day comment period provided to First Nations to review Notice of Work applications is often insufficient for First Nations’ to evaluate the impact of the proposed exploration activities and to prepare a sufficient response. Furthermore, there are no provisions to ensure that consultation takes place where the proponent is exempt from having to submit a Notice of Work application.

Recommended Solution

Require meaningful consultation with First Nations at permit application stage for all exploration activities

[Tags: Consultation; Exploration; Permit; Notice of Work Application]

Exploration activities may cause significant impacts, particularly when activities are carried out on, or in the vicinity of, First Nations’ traditional territories. In recognition of this, Ontario has enacted legislation that mandates that no exploration activities can be carried out until an exploration plan, which complies with any prescribed Aboriginal consultation requirementshas been submitted.55 Similar consultation requirements are mandated under New South Wales (Australia) legislation for exploration permits.56


In BC, there is currently no requirement to notify the public about proposed exploration activities. This means that the public has no opportunity to comment on whether exploration activities should be permitted.

Recommended Solution

Notify public of Notice of Work application for proposed exploration activities

[Tags: Public; Notice; Exploration; Permit; Notice of Work Application]

In contrast to BC, in New South Wales, within 14 days of submitting an exploration licence application a miner must publish a notice of the application in a “newspaper circulating generally in the State and in at least one newspaper circulating in the locality of the proposed exploration area”.57 Similar notice requirements are a requirement in Western Australia.58 This ensures that those most likely to be affected by exploration activities, including members of the general public, are notified of proposed mining activities in their local area.

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