Negotiation of Agreements

Appendix A: What to Include in an Access / Exploration Agreement

Liaison Protocols

Protocols for communication, information exchange, reporting requirements, and ongoing liaison throughout the duration of the Exploration Activity, including requiring the proponent to:

  • provide regular (e.g. quarterly) updates/progress reports on exploration activities (ongoing and proposed);
  • notify the First Nation of any new authorizations or permits when they are applied for and if they are approved;
  • develop and implement an environmental monitoring plan;
  • provide all monitoring data in electronic format, with photographs where applicable; and
  • allow uninhibited access, on reasonable notice, to perform site inspections with a clear, agreed-upon list of any safety concerns of any of the parties that would prevent or delay this (including any requirements for First Nation representatives to comply with health and safety requirements before attending the site, such as obtaining medicals or undertaking site inductions). The option to re-schedule site inspections should remain open as part of the duty to accommodate.

Limitation of Consent

Explicit provision to ensure that First Nations’ participation in an access/exploration agreement does not interfere with the First Nations’ right to withhold support for any future developments that may result from the exploration activities.109

Exploration Details

Details about the Exploration Activity, including:

  • exploration methodology;
  • types of machinery to be used;
  • location and number of drilling sites;
  • level of ground disturbance; and
  • timing, duration and frequency of activities, particularly in relation to First Nation activities (fishing or hunting times) or wildlife activities (caribou calving or migration times, fish spawning windows, etc.).


A pledge/undertaking by the proponent to respect cultural heritage, including commitments:

  • not to conduct any Exploration Activity within an agreed radius (e.g. 100 meters)110 of known cultural heritage sites or areas of traditional significance without written consent from the First Nation;
  • to immediately cease work if a cultural heritage site or object is discovered during prospecting or the Exploration Activity;
  • to immediately notify the First Nation of the discovery of all cultural heritage sites and objects;
  • to provide the First Nation with the option to inspect the site of the discovery and monitor any ongoing activity near the site; and
  • not return to resume work within, for example, 100 meters of a discovered cultural heritage site or object until the First Nation has given written consent to do so and any management strategies to ensure the cultural heritage is not harmed.

Financial Security

Details about the posting of financial security, including requirements that:

  • the Proponent post reclamation security with the First Nation to cover any potential damage the Exploration Activity may cause to the First Nation interests, including damage to cultural heritage sites and objects, damage to harvesting areas, interference with fishing or hunting rights, reduction in water quality or quantity, alterations of watercourses, impacts to wildlife, remediation of wastes, and any costs associated with reclamation;
  • any damage or encroachment upon the First Nation interests resulting from the Exploration Activity shall be paid:
  • first, from the reclamation security; and
  • second, directly by the Proponent and/or the Crown, if the reclamation security is inadequate.

Socio-Economic Benefits Plan

Including commitments to:

  • preferentially hire members of the First Nation and retain local indigenous businesses for contracting and activities related to the Exploration Activity;
  • contribute to community development programs; and
  • provide training and education programs.

Environmental Protection Plan

Including commitments to:

  • not cause Irreparable Harm to the Environment of the Stewardship Area;
  • comply with all laws (including indigenous laws);
  • notify the First Nation immediately of any and all environmental spills or hazards; and
  • adhere to the following requirements:


  • provide adequate riparian setbacks of at least 30 meters for minimal Exploration Activities and at least 70 meters for disruptive mineral exploration;
  • identify the water source for drilling;
  • describe any impact of water withdrawals on fish bearing streams and on water supplies used by the First Nation;
  • require use of sediment screens to reduce erosion and sedimentation of stream beds;
  • prepare contingency plans to restore potable water and provide emergency water supply in the event that Exploration Activities adversely impact potable water quality and/or quantity;


  • develop and implement monitoring plan for roads (culvert maintenance, sedimentation control, road bed maintenance);
  • if necessary, carry out baseline wildlife studies to identify populations and movements that may be adversely impacted by linear disturbances;
  • suspend or relocate vehicle use in the event of road degradation;
  • develop road closure and de-commissioning plan;

Camps & Workers

  • provide ongoing refuse management and site maintenance at exploration camps;
  • remove exploration camps within set time period;
  • require all wastes (human and garbage) be appropriately handled and disposed of;
  • prohibit workers from hunting or fishing on the Stewardship Area;

Machinery & Drilling

  • use, to maximum extent possible, of biodegradable and non-toxic drilling fluids;
  • identify all additives that are used in drilling;
  • secure all fuel and lubricants in secondary containment storage to prevent accidental spills;
  • describe all equipment used (backhoes generally cause less disturbance than bulldozers);
  • minimize impacts on fish and wildlife;
  • remove drilling water and mud from the Stewardship Area for disposal; and
  • preserve all drill cores, and, after use, give geologic information to the First Nation (subject to agreement on confidentiality and protecting commercial information).

Remediation of Drill Sites

  • store overburden in a manner that preserves its use and biological viability for reclamation;
  • require the use of native seed blends important to stop introduction of invasive species;
  • seal drill holes immediately after drilling to prevent the contamination of surface or groundwater;
  • fill areas of ground subsidence caused by drilling with clean fill that is free from noxious or invasive plant species and/or contaminants
  • backfill trenches by using removed overburden and bedrock, followed by replacement of the vegetative mat;
  • use only plant species in re-vegetation that are approved by the First Nation; and


  • avoid sensitive wildlife calving and roosting times when conducting airborne surveys or creating linear disturbances (the First Nation can impose timing limits on flights in the Stewardship Area).

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