Project Approvals Process:

The Mining and Minerals Division of the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources manages British Columbia's substantial mineral resources. The Division implements policies and programs that encourage the responsible development of these resources and ensures that all mining activities respect the safety of workers, the public and the environment. To this end, all mining and exploration activity is subject to the approval of any and all parties who may have rights to the property you wish to explore. These parties include First Nations, ranchers, those with grazing leases, forestry companies, guide outfitters, Regional Districts, tourism operators, recreational groups, Fisheries and Oceans, Ministry of Forests, etc.

Initial prospecting work does not require a permit as long as you do not intend to disturb the ground. Once exploration increases, for example you wish to do trenching, soil sampling, line cutting, drilling, etc., a Notice of Work and Reclamation Program form must be submitted. For placer work, a similar form is used but will be specific to placer mining. Each permit must be accompanied by maps, claim information, access information, and reclamation plans, including (if needed) a cheque to cover possible reclamation costs, should you renege on your permit.

All permit application forms describe what must be included with them and are available here.

This form also explains when you must submit additional application forms to other Ministries. For example, if your work will require more than 50 cubic metres of timber to be cut, you will need to submit an Application to Cut to the Ministry of Forests.

Once all the necessary information has been submitted, your application will join a queue at the Ministry office. Each application is reviewed by Ministry staff and, if required, sent out for perusal and comment by affected parties. This review period is usually limited to 30 days but there is no guarantee as to when these 30 days will start, so you must get your application in at the earliest possible opportunity.

At the completion of your work season, you are required to submit an Annual Summary of Work: the forms are available at the website noted above. If extensive work was done, such as drilling or soil sampling, an Assessment Report may be required as well. If in doubt, contact the Ministry for advice. All of the above forms and reports have strict timelines, accompanied by fines and/or loss of claims if not followed.

Comment on Project in the Environmental Assessment Phase:

http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/participation.html

Public participation in the environmental assessment process helps to ensure that community values and public goals for community development are considered in project planning and decision-making. 

After all, projects that are subject to an environmental assessment may have the potential to impact a community or a region. Public participation provides a means for proponents to learn about and incorporate local information, priorities and concerns into a project's design.

You can get involved by:

  1. participating in public meetings, open houses, and other public forums arranged by the proponent and/or the EAO;
  2. reviewing the draft terms of reference for an application for an environmental assessment certificate and submitting comments (e.g. issues and concerns) to the EAO, during a public comment period; and
  3. reviewing the application and submitting comments (e.g. issues and concerns) to the EAO, during a public comment period. http://www.eao.gov.bc.ca/pub/pdf/public_comment_policy2008.pdf

Federal Level:

http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=D75FB358-1

This website has a news feed of all public notices and meeting regarding projects undergoing scrutiny in the Federal EA process. You may sign up for the feed and/or e-mail notifications.

The Public Participation page provides several links which allow the public to investigate local projects, opportunities for participation in reviews, funding options, joining a review panel, etc.

http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/default.asp?lang=En&n=8A52D8E4-1

For projects specific to BC:

http://www.ceaa-acee.gc.ca/010/province-eng.cfm?provID=9