Permits for Mine Development and Operation

Mine Permit Renewal Applications

Overview of BC Law

In BC, mine plans, reclamation programs, and any design reports associated with the mine must be renewed every five years to account for changes to mine and reclamation plans. The proponent may also apply, on their own accord, to the Chief Inspector to extend the term of a mine permit.188 Such renewals are obtained by submitting a permit renewal application in the same manner as the original Mines Act permit application. The new permit is called an ‘amended permit’ and it supersedes all previous permits.189 In dealing with renewal applications, the Chief Inspector has broad powers to impose changes on existing conditions, including mine permit terms, where he or she considers it necessary.190


BC laws do not specify what the Chief Inspector must consider in deciding whether or not to grant a mine permit renewal application.191

Recommended Solutions

Specify conditions for approving and refusing mine permit renewal applications

[Tags: Mine Permit; Renewal; Conditions]

As indicated above, BC law does not require the Chief Inspector to consider any particular factors when deciding whether to approve an application for a mine permit renewal. By comparison, in Zambia, legal provisions clearly state that renewal applications will be refused for various reasons, including if “the programme of the intended mining operations will not ensure the proper conservation and use in the national interest of the mineral resources in the mining area”.192 Similarly, in Papua New Guinea, the regulatory authority may refuse a renewal application where it considers it is in the best interest of the state to do so.193 Clear criteria for refusing to renew a permit are also outlined under Botswana law. There, the regulatory authority will refuse to renew a permit if it does not deem that the proposed program of mining operations will ensure the most “efficient and beneficial use of the mineral resources in the mining area”.194 In Queensland (Australia), specific requirements for permit renewal are also clearly set out in the mining law with the relevant required to take into consideration, among other things, whether the operations to be conducted during the renewal term are an appropriate land use and “will conform with sound land use management”.195

Consider proponent’s past performance in evaluating mine permit renewal application

[Tags: Mine Permit; Renewal; Conditions; Compliance History; Track Record; Past Performance]

BC’s Chief Inspector should consider the proponent’s past performance and history of compliance in determining whether or not to renew a mine permit. This practice, which is recognized in the following jurisdictions, helps ensure that poor practices do not continue unfettered:

  • In New South Wales (Australia), legal provisions provide that mine permit renewal applications can be refused where the miner has contravened mining laws in the past.196
  • In Zambia, legal provisions provide that mine permit renewal applications will be refused where mining development has not proceeded with reasonable diligence.197
  • In the Yukon, the proponent must provide satisfactory evidence of compliance with conditions of the mine permit and all applicable legislation before a renewal will be granted.198
  • In Botswana, the regulatory authority is required to reject a renewal application where the miner is in default, or the regulatory authority is not satisfied that the mining development has proceeded with reasonable diligence.199

Even in BC, forestry legislation provides that on expiry, a replacement “special use permit” may only be granted if the regulatory authority is satisfied with the applicant’s performance of the conditions of the permit.200 A similar requirement is missing from BC’s mining laws.

Establish deadlines for submitting mine permit renewal application

[Tags: Mine Permit Renewal; Conditions; Time]

Proponents should apply to renew mine permits sufficiently in advance of their expiration to allow adequate time for government officials to review the application. Time periods for submitting a mine permit renewal application are specified in laws of several jurisdictions. For example, Zambia requires applications for renewals to be submitted one year before the expiry of the licence.201 Similarly, under US federal law, applications for mine permit renewals must be made at least 120 days before the expiry of a valid mine permit.202

Require application fee for mine permit renewal

[Tags: Mine Permit Renewal; Application; Fee]

An important consideration in establishing legal requirements for renewing a mine permit is the regulatory authority’s capacity to adequately review the applications. Recognizing this need, several jurisdictions have mandated mine permit renewal application fees. For example, in Oregon, holders of operating permits must pay an annual renewal fee that includes a base fee and a tonnage rate on mined ore.203 The regulatory authority is also empowered to raise or reduce the tonnage rate to reflect the department’s actual administration expenses,204 and impose an additional fee to cover staff time if the reclamation plan is changed.205 Permit renewal application fees are also provided under legislation in Zambia,206 and in Minnesota where the fee is 10% of the initial permit application fee.207

Learn About Mining

Problems and Solutions


A Community Resource