Mineral Prospecting and Exploration

Regulating Exploration Activities

Overview of BC Law

If a potential mineral deposit is discovered during prospecting, then it will likely be explored further to find out more about its distribution, size, quality, composition, etc. This information will be used by the proponent to assess whether the deposit is worth mining.

Various exploration techniques may be used to collect this necessary information.  In BC, a mine permit is almost always required before a free miner may commence the following exploration activities:32

  • mechanical drilling, trenching, excavating;
  • blasting;
  • construction, modification, deactivation, reclamation of access areas and camps;
  • induced polarization surveys using exposed electrodes; and
  • site reclamation.

This mine permit is obtained by submitting a Notice of Work application to the Minister of Energy and Mines (although in some cases, the Chief Inspector may grant an exemption from this requirement).33

The following sections review the legal requirements for obtaining a permit for exploration activities in BC as compared to other jurisdictions with respect to the:

  • content of Notice of Work Applications;
  • consultation on Notice of Work Applications;
  • criteria for evaluating Notice of Work Applications; and
  • conditions to attach to exploration permits, if Notice of Work Applications are approved.

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