Some of Canada’s efforts to streamline regulatory processes are beginning to take shape as British Columbia (B.C.) moves some of its mining exploration permit process online.
As of September 1, 2013, mining companies involved in low-impact projects permitted under the Mines Act can utilize FrontCounter BC, which will provide online access for three mining application categories.
The move comes as B.C. tries to embrace the growth of its mining sector. In 2001, the province’s exploration spending was $29.1 million, and in 2012 it had skyrocketed to $680 million.
Companies can apply online through FrontCounter BC to authorize induced polarization (measuring an electrical current from the ground to gauge deposits), drill programs on operating mine sites, or file extensions of up to two years for proposed exploration.
“As B.C.'s one land manager, my ministry is committed to getting to natural resource development decisions faster,” said Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in a September 3, 2013 statement to media.
“Low-risk mining activities, such as timeline extensions for previously approved exploration drilling, do not require in-depth review,” added Thomson. “We're removing bureaucratic processes that will enable companies to create local jobs quicker.”
In fall 2012, the B.C. government consulted with industry, First Nations and the public about modernizing the permit process for low-impact exploration activities.
The Association for Mineral Exploration BC is praising the move to an online process. In a statement from the association, President and CEO Gavin Dirom said, “accessing information online has become so prevalent in the mineral exploration and development industry, there is now a golden opportunity to upgrade the MapPlace and Mineral Titles Online systems to complement the FrontCounter BC initiative.”
Read more about the online permit process in this article from EHScompliance.ca