Mine Permitting

Last updated on March 15, 2024

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. 

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.

Mine Plan Update Policy

Review the policy prior to submitting updated mine plans. This policy only pertains to regionally operated sand and gravel pits and construction aggregate quarries. It does not include major mines or industrial mineral mines.

Mine Plan Update Policy (PDF, 351KB)

Mineral and Coal Titles

Subsurface rights for mineral or coal resources must be obtained under the Mineral Tenure Act or Coal Act before mine permits can be issued. Learn more about mineral and coal titles.