Permits for Mine Development and Operation

Mine Permit Applications

Requirement for Mine Permit Application

Overview of BC Law

In BC, the Chief Inspector of Mines has broad discretion to exempt a miner from the requirement to obtain a mine permit where he or she deems it justifiable based on the “nature of the proposed work”.7 No specific legal requirements guide the Chief Inspector in making this decision.


The discretion afforded to the Chief Inspector in BC includes the discretion to exempt large scale mining operations from the requirement to apply for and obtain a mine permit. The law does not, however, provide any guidance on how the Chief Inspector should exercise this discretion in deciding whether to exempt a mine from the basic mine permit requirement.

Recommended Solution

Require mine permits for all large scale mines

[Tags: Mine Permit; Discretion]

In contrast to BC, other jurisdictions only allow select small mining operations to be exempt from the requirement to obtain a mine permit. Such exemptions are only available for projects that fall below clearly defined thresholds. For example:

  • in Arizona, operating permits are required for surface disturbances exceeding 5 contiguous acres in area;8
  • in California, a mine permit is not required if the disturbed area is less than or equal to 1 acre and if the amount of overburden is less than 1000 cubic yards;9
  • in Wyoming, reduced requirements are imposed on operations that mine less than 10,000 cubic yards and affect less than 10 acres per year; and10
  • in Newfoundland and Labrador, a small-scale designation may be made based on specific factors, including the nature of materials mined or milled, the location of operation with respect to surface or underground mining, the requirement for a tailings impoundment area, the total volume or tonnage produced by operation, and the size of area affected.11

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