New regulations for the mining industry in Ontario are hurting junior mining companies and their exploration projects, reports the Toronto Star. The Ontario Prospectors Association said many companies are finding the new rules too onerous and are getting tangled in the new rules — causing some to stop their exploration work.
The firms haven’t been able to obtain the necessary provincial permits, most of which are taking longer than 30 days, and its costing them money while they wait on them. Previously, prospectors were able to conduct early exploration work without provincial permits or oversight by the community members.
Under the new regulations, firms must file exploration plans and provide a 30-day public notice and comment window. They must also notify landowners and consult with Aboriginal communities in advance. Additionally, they must apply get an exploration permit when operations progress beyond a certain limit. The government says permits are supposed to be issued within 50 days.
As a result, mining investment may be inhibited in a province where industry insiders have been talking about companies and some have already left.
Mineral Mountain Resources Ltd. (TSX-V: MMV) said it’s no longer working in Ontario because of the new rules. It is walking away from two northern Ontario gold exploration projects that it spent about $11 million on. The extra regulations and consultations take up too much time.
Solid Gold Resources Corp. (TSX-V: SLD) said it’s the government’s job to conduct consultations before leases are granted, not for companies handle when they are trying to explore for minerals.
International Millennium Mining Corp. (TSX-V: IMI) said it terminated the lease for its Hope Lake property mainly owing to the new regulations because it couldn’t meet provincial deadlines for assessment work while concurrently trying to consult with the community.
Miners are also concerned that the new rules will damage existing financing since exploration delayed by consultations or permits will not let the companies give tax deductions to shareholders which will force them to return the originally invested money.