Permits for Mine Development and Operation

Mine Permit Transfer Applications

Overview of BC Law

Changes in mine ownership are common in the mining industry. It is thus imperative that successive owners and operators are bound by the same obligations as the original proponent, including permit conditions and agreements entered into with First Nations. BC mining laws require that, before commencing mining activities, a new mine owner must apply to the Chief Inspector to either obtain a permit or to amend the name of the permit holder on an existing permit.208

Provincial policy adds the following requirements:

  • the original permit holder continues to be responsible for the mine until a new permit has been issued to the new owner/operator;209
  • the new owner must agree in writing to assume all liabilities associated with the mine;210 and
  • a proposed change of mine ownership can trigger an assessment of a mine’s liabilities, and the transfer may be refused by the Chief Inspector if she or he is not satisfied that the new owner has sufficient financial security in place to cover the outstanding liabilities.211


BC’s mine permit transfer application process does not require new proponents to provide sufficient information, specify what factors the Chief Inspector must consider in evaluating applications for mine permit transfers; or hold new owners and operators legally liable and responsible for newly acquired mining operations.

Recommended Solutions

Require plan for continued mining activities and proof of capacity to carry it out

[Tags: Mine Permit Transfer; Information; Application; Condition]

In Sweden, new owners must submit a plan for the continuation of mining activities, as well as a report on their technical and financial capacity for accomplishing this plan.212 Similar legal requirements are in place in Mozambique.213

Deny transfer of mine permit if not in public interest

[Tags: Mine Permit Transfer; Public Interest; Condition]

There may be times when a transfer of a mine permit is not in the public’s best interest. In BC, however, there are no specific legal provisions that mandate that the public interest be taken into account when making a decision on a mine permit transfer application. In contrast, New Brunswick’s law clearly states that the regulatory authority may refuse to consent to the transfer where it is in the public interest to do so.214 Similar provisions are in place in Ghana.215

Require new mine owner to assume all existing liabilities upon transfer of mine permit

[Tags: Mine Permit Transfer; Liability]

As indicated above, the BC requirement that new owners assume all existing liabilities associated with a mine is a non-binding policy requirement. Conversely, in Ontario, the law explicitly provides that when a mine licence is transferred, the transferee is liable for any rehabilitation obligations, regardless of when those obligations were created.216

Require application fee for mine permit transfer

[Tags: Mine Permit Transfer; Fee; Application]

No permit transfer fees are specified under BC mining law.217 In contrast, other jurisdictions, including Colorado and Minnesota, recognize the importance of securing an adequate fee to cover administrative costs for transferring permits.218 In Minnesota, the permit transfer application fee is 10% of the fee for a permit application.219

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