Regulating Prospecting Activities
Once a Free Miner Certificate is obtained and a claim is staked, a person has the right to enter the land and conduct a variety of prospecting activities including, for example, geological surveying and hand-trenching.
Prospecting activities have the potential to create adverse environmental consequences and lack government guidance or oversight.
The proponent and the government are not required to notify or consult with First Nations before prospecting occurs on traditional territories.
Given the vast area of the province that is ‘open’ to mining and the fact that First Nations communities are more likely to be affected by mining activities, stronger mining laws are needed to ensure ethical prospecting.
In Queensland, Australia, Indigenous people heave the right to be consulted and enter into Access Agreements before prospecting occurs on their territories.
Recommended solutions include:
- Require miners to obtain consent from First Nations before entering their land.
- Minimize the environmental impact of prospecting activities.
- Require miners to take cultural awareness programs and pledge respect for First Nations cultural heritage before obtaining a Free Miner Certificate.
In Ontario, potential prospectors must successfully complete a prospector awareness program on issues related to Indigenous interests before a license is granted.