Jun 18, 2024

The Québec mining sector: A new regulatory requirement as of May 2024

  • Article
  • mining
  • permitting
  • exploration
Truck Ramp Mine Outside Adobe Stock 228608548

Meeting regulatory requirements when carrying out exploration work can be a real challenge for Québec’s dynamic mining industry. Effective May 6, 2024, a new regulatory requirement has added another hurdle for industry operators. These regulations, under the Mining Act, are intended to provide a more stringent framework for mineral exploration activities to ensure environmental and social concerns are duly addressed.

  1. Work subject to the new regulations

    From now on, any mining company that wants to carry out “impact” exploration work must obtain an authorization for impact-causing exploration work (ATI) from the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MRNF). This authorization is governed by Sections 69, 69.1 and 69.2 of the Mining Act as well as Sections 11, 12 and 13 of the Mining Regulation. The type of work requiring authorization depends on the method used and the nature of the proposed work.

    Impact-causing exploration work involves using one or more of the following methods: hydraulic-powered machinery (e.g., bulldozers, scrapers, dragline excavators, mechanical shovels, excavators, backhoes, tractors, skidders, hydraulic hammers, hydraulic drills), explosives or hydraulic pumps for gold mining purposes. The Regulation outlines a list of exploration activities that are subject to the ATI, including overburden excavation, rock stripping, bulk sampling, drill holes in overburden and rock, seismic refraction surveys and work carried out using hydraulic pumps for gold mining purposes.

  2. Application process

    To obtain an ATI, applicants must submit a description of the land designated for the proposed work, delineated by polygons within a shape file. These precisely identified zones facilitate discussions with municipalities and Indigenous communities. Exhaustive planning is essential since changes cannot be made after obtaining the ATI. An application can include several zones for different types of work, each requiring a separate authorization.

    Furthermore, obtaining an ATI requires mining promoters to establish transparent dialogue with municipalities and Indigenous communities when presenting exploration projects to enhance social acceptance. These consultations must be documented in a public report, demonstrating the promoters' commitment to addressing local concerns. This report, included with the ATI application, must summarize interactions with local municipalities and Indigenous communities, detailing questions, answers and proposed mitigation measures.

    Non-compliance carries substantial risks, ranging from project schedule delays to significant financial repercussions. Authorization is initially valid for two years and can be renewed for a further 12 months.

  3. The solutions

    There are several ways to help clients meet these new regulatory challenges. First, it's essential to take a proactive and strategic approach. Clients can leverage BBA's expertise to optimize the ATI process by developing effective strategies to meet requirements and ensuring rigorous compliance with the updated regulations.

    When providing solutions, BBA continually strives to innovate and offer unique approaches tailored to mining companies. Our team of experts has in-depth knowledge of the specific issues facing the mining industry and can design custom solutions that precisely meet each project’s needs.

    What's more, our commitment to innovation means we’re continually developing new technologies and methodologies, providing clients with a competitive edge. By combining our technical expertise with our thorough understanding of regulatory requirements, we deliver integrated solutions that help mining companies achieve their objectives while complying with the highest environmental and social responsibility benchmarks.

  4. Challenges and opportunities

    New regulations for mineral exploration present both challenges and unique opportunities. By working closely with BBA, mining companies can successfully navigate this intricate regulatory landscape and implement innovative solutions to ensure project success. Feel free to contact us to discuss your project.

This content is for general information purposes only. All rights reserved ©BBA

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