The Mines Act regulates all mining activities in British Columbia – from early exploration to development, production, reclamation, closure, and post-closure. A permit must be in place before any work in, on, or about a mine can occur.
Permits are issued by the Chief Permitting Officer under section 10 of the Mines Act, and are administered by the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation (EMLI).
A permit for mineral or coal exploration activities enables the holder to conduct mechanized exploration activities on a mineral or coal title area, including ground excavation, drilling, processing, concentrating, waste disposal, and site reclamation. These permits are managed by Regional EMLI Offices. Applications are submitted as a Notice of Work through FrontCounter BC.
There is a new intake schedule for Mineral Exploration Notice of Work applications. The batching process will bring more certainty to when applications will be reviewed and feedback provided, as well as when applications may be sent out for referral to other agencies and to Indigenous nations for consultation.
For more information, visit the Exploration page.
Certain exploration activities where a permit is already held and that pose very low risk to human or environmental health are deemed authorized under the Mines Act Permit Regulation.
Construction and Operation
A permit for construction and operation activities enables the holder to prepare, construct and operate a mineral or coal mine. Different permitting paths are used depending on the nature and scope of the proposed project:
Reclamation and Closure
Mines Act permits often include reclamation and closure conditions, including bonding. Reclamation requirements are also prescribed under the Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in B.C.