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Current permitting processes and challenges for new mines

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  • 1. Current Permitting Processes and Challenges for New Mines and Re-Opening Old Mines Water Management for Mining Summit 2014 Bernard J. Roth Partner May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP
  • 2. Agenda - Permits and Approvals to Cover May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 2 • Permit under the Mines Act in BC • Exploration and Small Mines • Notice of Work • Multi-year area-based (MYAB) permitting • Major Mines Permit • BC Environmental Assessment Certificate • Canadian Environmental Assessment • Fisheries Act Approval • Navigable Protection Act Approval
  • 3. Mines Act Permit Requirement May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 3 • Section 10(1) of the Mines Act • Must have a permit before starting any work in, on or about a mine • Permit is issued by the Chief Inspector • The application must include • A plan of the proposed work • A program for conservation of cultural heritage resources • A program for protection and reclamation of the land, watercourses and cultural heritage • Exemptions are possible (s. 10(1.1) and (2))
  • 4. Mines Act Permit - Notice of Work (NoW) May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 4 • Intended for coal or mineral exploration programs and for approvals of placer mining, or sand and gravel pits and quarries • The permit must be obtained before any mechanized work can occur • Application must include the following regarding water management: • Plan(s) outlining the details of the proposed work and a program for the protection and reclamation of the land, watercourses and cultural heritage resources which may be affected by the proposed activities • Information about the present state of the land • Description and estimated cost of reclamation program for each activity
  • 5. Deemed Authorizations and Mines Act Permit Exemptions May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 5 • The following are deemed authorized activities: • If a proponent holds an exploration permit, induced polarization surveys using exposed electrodes • For an operating mine, additional exploration drill programs and IP surveys in the permitted area of disturbance • Extension of exploration activities for up to two years • Notification to the Ministry is required
  • 6. Multi-Year Area Based Mines Act Permits May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 6 • Authorizes exploration activities for up to 5 years in an area (s. 10(3) of Mines Act) • Provides flexibility to proponent to adjust work based on field results and market conditions • First Nations can review information for an area in one application, rather than several applications • Streamlines administrative process • Follows the same approval process as NoW • Engineering, water and archaeological studies may be needed during review process • Proponent submits annual updates to MMRD
  • 7. Mines Act Permits for Major Mines May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 7 • A detailed ‘Mine Plan and Reclamation Program’ must be submitted and must include the following regarding water management: • Design, construction, operation and mine closure details that consider the safety of the public, mine workers, and the protection of the environment; • A program for the protection and reclamation of the land and watercourses during the construction and operational phases of the mining operation; • A conceptual final reclamation plan for the closure or abandonment of the mining operation; • An estimate of the annual cost of outstanding reclamation obligations over the planned life of the mine including the cost of long-term monitoring and abatement; and • Any other relevant information that may be required by an Inspector.
  • 8. BC Environmental Assessment May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 8 • An environmental assessment will be required if the project meets the criteria for a reviewable project • An application for a mine permit and environmental assessment may be submitted concurrently, but an environmental assessment certificate must be obtained before a mine permit can be issued
  • 9. BC Environmental Assessment – Reviewable Projects May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 9 Project Category – Column 1 Criteria for a New Project – Column 2 Criteria for Modification of Existing Project – Column 3 Coal Mines A new mine facility that, during operation, will have a production capacity of > 250 000 tonnes/year of clean coal or raw coal or a combination of both clean coal and raw coal. The facility meets the criteria in Column 2 and the modification will result in the disturbance of (i) at least 750 hectares of land that was not previously permitted for disturbance, or (ii) an area of land that was not previously permitted for disturbance and that is at least 50% of the area of land that was previously permitted for disturbance at the existing facility. Mineral Mines A new mine facility that, during operations, will have a production capacity of > 75 000 tonnes/year of mineral ore. The facility meets the criteria in Column 2 and the modification will result in the disturbance of (i) at least 750 hectares of land that was not previously permitted for disturbance, or (ii) an area of land that was not previously permitted for disturbance and that is at least 50% of the area of land that was previously permitted for disturbance at the existing facility. Sand and Gravel Pits A new pit facility that will have a production capacity of (a) > 500 000 tonnes/year of excavated sand or gravel or both sand and gravel during at least one year of its operation, or (b) over a period of < 4 years of operation, > 1 000000 tonnes of excavated sand or gravel or both sand and gravel. The facility meets the criteria in Column 2 and the modification of the existing pit facility will result in the disturbance of an area of land that was not previously permitted for disturbance and that is at least 35% of the area of land that was previously permitted for disturbance at the existing facility.
  • 10. BC Environmental Assessment – Reviewable Projects - 2 May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 10 Project Category – Column 1 Criteria for a New Project – Column 2 Criteria for Modification of Existing Project – Column 3 Placer Mineral Mines A new mine facility that, during operations, will have a production capacity of > 500 000 tonnes/year of pay-dirt. The facility meets the criteria in Column 2 and the modification of the existing pit facility will result in the disturbance of an area of land that was not previously permitted for disturbance and that is at least 35% of the area of land that was previously permitted for disturbance at the existing facility. Construction Stone and Industrial Mineral Quarries A new quarry facility or other operation that (a) involves the removal of construction stone or industrial minerals or both, (b) is regulated as a mine under the Mines Act, and (c) during operations, will have a production capacity of > 250 000 tonnes/year of quarried product. The facility meets the criteria in Column 2 and the modification will result in the disturbance of (i) at least 750 hectares of land that was not previously permitted for disturbance, or (ii) an area of land that was not previously permitted for disturbance and that is at least 50% of the area of land that was previously permitted for disturbance at the existing facility. Off-shore Mines A new off-shore mine facility. The facility meets the criteria in Column 2 and the executive director has determined that the modification has the potential to result in a significant adverse environmental, economic, social, heritage or health effect.
  • 11. BC Environmental Assessment Pre-Application Process May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 11 Proponent initiates exploration and consultation Proponent initiates baseline environmental studies Proponent submits project description to BC EAO BC EAO determines whether an environmental assessment is triggered Proponent submits draft application information requirements (AIR) Public review period for draft AIR BC EAO issues AIR
  • 12. BC Environmental Assessment Application Process May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 12 Proponent submits application in accordance with AIR BC EAO screens application against AIR - 30 days BC EAO initiates formal review of application – 180 days BC EAO prepares report BC EAO refers application and report to Minister for decision Minister makes decision on whether to issues a certificate - 45 days BC EAO issues certificate
  • 13. BC Environmental Assessment – Water Management May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 13 • Water management aspects that must be considered in a BC environmental assessment: • Site Water Management • Surface Water Quality • Surface Water Quantity • Ground Water Quality • Ground Water Quantity • Domestic Water Quality
  • 14. Canadian Environmental Assessment May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 14 • Changes made to requirements in CEAA 2012 • Assessment no longer triggered by authorization or approval from a federal body • Assessment required for designated projects • Regulation sets thresholds for designated projects • Amendments to regulation made in 2013
  • 15. Canadian Environmental Assessment Thresholds for Construction, Operation, Decommissioning or Abandonment of Mines May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 15 Mine Type Change Threshold Rare element New Ore production greater than 600 t/d Diamond New Ore production of 3,000 t/d Potash/apatite Changed from potash mine of 1,000,000 t/y of product to apatite mine of 3,000 t/d of ore Ore production of 3,000 t/d Stone quarry Changed from 1,000,000 t/y to 3,500,000 t/y. Production of 3,500,000 t/y Oil sands mine Changed from more than 10,000 m3/d production capacity Production capacity of 10,000 m3/d or more
  • 16. Canadian Environmental Assessment Thresholds for Expansion of Existing Mines May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 16 Mine Type Change Threshold Metal mine Changed measurement from ore production to mine area and changed production threshold 50% increase in the area of the mine operations with a resulting total production of at least 3,000 t/d Rare earth element or gold mine Changed measurement from ore production to mine area and changed production threshold 50% increase in the area of the mine operations with a resulting total production of at least 600 t/d Coal mine Changed measurement from ore production to mine area and changed production threshold 50% increase in the area of mine operations with a resulting total production of at least 3,000 t/d Diamond mine New 50% increase in the area of the mine operations and a resulting total ore capacity of 3,000 t/d Apatite /potash mine Changed measurement from potassium chloride to ore production and changed production threshold 50% increase in the area of mine operations with a resulting total production of at least 3,000 t/d Stone quarry or sand or gravel pit Changed from 35% increase in production to 50% increase in mine area 50% increase in the area of the mine operation and a resulting total production of 3,500,000 t/year or more Oil sands mine New 50% increase in the area of the mine operation and increase in productivity capacity of 10,000 m3/d or more
  • 17. Canadian Environmental Assessment Requirements May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 17 • Environmental Effects that must be considered in the EA include: • A change to the following components of the environment: • fish and fish habitat as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Fisheries Act; • aquatic species as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Species at Risk Act; • migratory birds as defined in subsection 2(1) of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; • A change to the environment that would occur • in a province other than the one in which the act or thing is done or where the physical activity, the designated project or the project is being carried out; or • outside Canada; and • With respect to aboriginal peoples, an effect occurring in Canada of any change to the environment on: • health and socio-economic conditions; • physical and cultural heritage; • the current use of lands and resources for traditional purposes; or • any structure, site or thing that is of historical, archaeological, paleontological or architectural significance. • Any effects triggered by a federal approval for the project
  • 18. Canadian Environmental Assessment Process 00 Month 2013 Dentons Canada LLP Document reference # 18 • Proponent of designated project must submit project description to Agency (s. 9) • Agency decides if environmental assessment required (s. 10(b)) • Responsible authority can delegate conduct of environmental assessment (s. 26) • Federal Minister can substitute provincial process for a CEAA review if no referral to a review panel has been made (ss. 32 and 33) • Project can be exempted by Federal Government from application of CEAA as long as provincial process has justification and mitigation process for significant adverse effects (s. 37) • Two types of assessment – screens or review panels • 1 year time limit for screenings (s. 27) • 2 year time limit for panels (s. 38(3)
  • 19. Fisheries Act Approval May 15, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 19 • Authorization required from DFO under s. 35 of the Fisheries Act • Authorization is required for activities that will result in serious harm to fish that are part of a commercial, recreational or Aboriginal fishery, or to fish that support such a fishery • Prior to June 2012, authorization was required for harmful alteration, disruption, or destruction (“HADD”) of fish habitat • A number of water body types and types of activities have been identified by DFO as not requiring review (http://www.dfo-mpo.gc.ca/pnw- ppe/index-eng.html) • Prohibition of deposit of deleterious substances in water frequented by fish • Currently can only be authorized by regulations under 36(4) and (5) (e.g. Metal Mining Effluent Regulations)
  • 20. Navigation Protection Act Approvals May 14, 2014 Dentons Canada LLP 20 • Previously, under the Navigable Waters Protection Act, approval was required from Transport Canada for works built or placed in, on, over, under, through or across any navigable water • On April 1, 2014, the new Navigation Protection Act (NPA) came into force • Now authorization is only required for work on water bodies listed in the schedule in the NPA • The Minor Works Order establishes classes of works that do not require approval (http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/programs-633.html)
  • 21. Thank you Bernard J. Roth bernard.roth@dentons.com 403-268-6888 Dentons Canada LLP 21
  • 22. The preceding presentation contains examples of the kinds of issues companies dealing with mining could face. If you are faced with one of these issues, please retain professional assistance as each situation is unique. Dentons Canada LLP 22