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Industry generally pleased with revision of Mining Act.

Industry generally pleased with revision of Mining Act

Ontario's new Mining Act, which went into effect on June 3, is receiving generally favorable reviews from members of the province's mining community.

"We're happy to see the new act, since the old Mining Act hadn't been amended since 1962," said Patrick Reid, president of the Ontario Mining Association (OMA). "Overall, we're really pleased about the new act."

The bill for the act was introduced into the legislature in October and received Royal Assent on Dec. 6.

Provisions establishing security of tenure and time limits for filing disputes on staked claims went into effect at the time assent was given.

Provisions establishing time limits for priority of staking, claim recording and conducting the dollar value-based assessment work came into effect this month.

David Watkins, a senior vice-president of Minnova Inc., said his firm approves of the new legislation, particularly the changes in requirements for holding claims.

"The fundamental principle that a company either uses the claim or loses it is one of the items we're most happy with," Watkins said, noting that claims can no longer sit idle for years as the claim holder waits for mineral prices to increase.

Under the new act, a claim holder must conduct exploration work valued at $400 during the first three years of holding a claim and $600 for each of the following years in order to maintain rights to the property.

While a number of prospectors have complained that the amount of money will increase their financial burden, Watkins called the amounts "relatively negligible.

"The old act used a complicated formula to determine a fee to hold a claim," he recalled.

CONCERNS

Like any other piece of government legislation, the new Mining Act has caused concern among some members of the mining sector.

Reid is concerned about the wording of a section of the act dealing with the opening, operating and closing of mines.

"The requirements are obscure," he said with regard to the financial commitments a company must make in order to open a mine.

"One cannot disagree with it (the section) on principle, but it will be very difficult for small mining companies to open a mine."

The act forces mining companies to file site rehabilitation plans with the province prior to initiating any large-scale exploration work on a site. The companies must also prove that they are financially able to reclaim the site after the mine stops producing ore.

Reid said the OMA and the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines are attempting to clarify the requirements, since the industry could be "caught between the Mining Act and the Environmental Act."

Watkins also voiced concern about the section, saying that "it leaves a lot up to the discretion of the ministry."

Calling the section "vague," Watkins also expressed concern regarding the burden placed on smaller firms.

"I don't see smaller companies bringing a property to production at all," he said.
COPYRIGHT 1991 Laurentian Business Publishing, Inc.
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Copyright 1991, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Title Annotation:Mining Report; Ontario Mining Act
Author:Krejlgaard, Chris
Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Date:Jun 1, 1991
Words:489
Previous Article:Interest renewed in the Matachewan area.
Next Article:Talks underway.
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