Major Mines Office
The Major Mines Office (MMO) brings coordination and clear accountability to both industry and government to ensure timely review of high-quality permit applications to support enduring decisions with respect to permitting major mine projects. MMO leads the coordinated authorizations process for major mine permitting across the province, working with natural resource agencies including the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, and the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development.
MMO acts as the single point of contact and accountability for the coordination of project-specific advisory committees (Mine Review Committees) and key aspects of the permitting process, including consultation and collaboration with Indigenous Nations and strategic issues management, with the goal of improving consistency and timeliness while managing shared jurisdiction among provincial agencies.
For a detailed overview of the coordinated authorizations process, including a list of potential authorizations required for major mine development, please refer to the Guide to Coordinated Authorizations for Major Mines in B. C. (PDF, 1,530KB).
For more information on major mines in B.C., visit the BC Mine Information website.
Major mines and expansions in B.C., including large-scale industrial mineral and aggregate mines, are typically reviewable under the Environmental Assessment Act and require an environmental assessment certificate. MMO works closely with the Environmental Assessment Office during the environmental assessment process to create continuity from the assessment through permitting. This ensures that there is a comprehensive understanding of issues, mitigation measures, subsequent proponent conditions, and of the issues that are brought forward to be addressed during the permit review process.
Consulting and Collaborating with Indigenous Nations
The Province has a duty to consult and where required, accommodate First Nations whenever a decision or activity could impact treaty rights or asserted or established Aboriginal rights and title. The Province has also committed to adopting and implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action.
Working with Indigenous Nations and partner provincial agencies, MMO plays a key role in the coordination of consultation and collaboration with potentially impacted Indigenous Nations in a manner consistent with the Draft Principles that Guide the Province of British Columbia’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples, helping support the timely review of permit applications and the delivery of well-informed and enduring permitting decisions.
While the Province is responsible for ensuring adequate and appropriate consultation and accommodation, the proponent may be involved in procedural aspects of consultation. Proponents are encouraged to engage with First Nations as early as possible in the planning stages to build meaningful relationships and share information which may support consultation and collaboration processes. For more information on consultation, visit the Government of B.C.'s Consulting with First Nations page.
MMO applies project management principles and practices through the use of tools that bring clarity, consistency and rigour to the coordinated review process. For example, MMO works with individual proponents and mine review committee members to develop project specific charters and schedules.
- Example of a project-specific charter (PDF, 860KB)
- Example of a project-specific schedule (PDF, 285KB)
Combined, these tools clearly define the scope and objectives of the review process, provide a communication strategy, define roles and responsibilities of participants, and outline the major deliverables and milestones of the coordinated review process.
In addition to project management tools, MMO uses specific guidance to ensure clear understanding of process and application information requirements. For more information visit the Coordinated Review Process Guidance and Tools page.
MMO Governance Structure
MMO is overseen by a Project Board consisting of senior-level leaders from the Province's natural resource agencies, including the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, the Environmental Assessment Office, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. The Project Board provides guidance and oversight on the full scope of regulatory processes required to open or expand a major mine. MMO's unique Project Board structure provides a mechanism for strategic issues identification and resolution, and to manage resource requirements for the permitting process. It is important to note that the Project Board does not issue individual permits, as this responsibility still resides with Statutory Decision Makers within each provincial permitting agency.
- View the governance structure (PDF, 171KB) of MMO and the Project Board, and their relationship with the other natural resource sector ministries and industry.