Modernization and Splitting of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Mining Regulations
Background on Canada Mining Regulations
Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada's Northern Affairs Organization is responsible for the management of non-renewable resources in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. In these territories, Crown lands are managed pursuant to the Territorial Lands Act and its related regulations, including the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Mining Regulations. These regulations, formerly known as the "Canada Mining Regulations" cover mineral tenure and royalties for mining production.
Royalty and leasing provisions
On December 2, 2007, the amendments to the royalty and leasing provisions of the Canada Mining Regulations came into effect. They appear as SOR/2007-273 in Part II, Vol. 141, No. 25 of the Canada Gazette under P.C. 2007-1793 – November 29, 2007. These amendments include provisions to:
- Allocate revenues and expenses where a mine is located on a combination of Aboriginal-owned and Crown lands;
- Allow the Minister to hold and sell mineral claims and leases acquired through insolvency or through the realization of security;
- Clarify a number of sections related to diamond valuation and calculation of mining royalties, and
- Change the name of the regulations to the Northwest Territories and Nunavut Mining Regulations.
Stand-alone amendments to Section 11
On July 28, 2008, amendments to sub-section 11(1)(f) came into force. These amendments prohibit prospecting and staking of a mineral claim in areas where such activities are prohibited under an approved land use plan. They ensure regulations are consistent with comprehensive land claim settlements in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
The amendments were published on August 6, 2008 as SOR/2008-240 in Part II, Vol. 142, No. 16 of the Canada Gazette under P.C. 2008-1352.
Ongoing Amendment Initiatives
Royalties related to diamond valuation
Following the recommendations of an independent review of the diamond valuation process in the current regulations, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) will initiate work on a new round of proposed amendments to the royalty provisions. The purpose of these amendments is to improve the business climate by allowing more frequent shipment of some diamond production to market.
Mineral tenure and related schedules
AANDC is working to complete proposed amendments to the mineral tenure related provisions for consultation and public comment in 2013.
These amendments will focus on the modernization of the mineral tenure system, Schedule I (fees) and Schedule II (work reporting requirements). The majority of the proposed changes will be administrative in nature, such as clarifying definitions and wording of provisions, and limiting discretionary powers of government officials. The changes to Schedule I will reflect the conversion of all measurements in the Regulations from imperial to metric units.
As well, in preparation for devolution, and to take into account the legislative differences between the Northwest Territories and Nunavut, there will be separate mining regulations for each territory. The Northwest Territories and Nunavut Mining Regulations will be replaced by two separate sets of federal regulations: the "Northwest Territories Mining Regulations" and the "NunavutMining Regulations."
Future Legislative Modernization Initiatives
The current trend in Canadian mining jurisdictions is toward more modern and automated systems of mineral rights administration, including map selection. AANDC has officially begun the Map Selection project for Nunavut, which has an expected implementation date spring/summer 2014.
For additional information please contact Dominique Quirion at: 819-997-0912
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