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Mineral and Surface Rights: Cottagers' Reccomendations for Changes to Mining Laws

Submitted by Howard Robinson,
Director and Lake Steward of Buckshot Lake Cottagers Association in North Frontenac

Reccomendations by Larry Trenwith, BLCA President

Press Release from The Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations

Claim Staking & Mineral Exploration Review by MNDM

EBR Registry Number: 010-1018
Potential changes to how claim staking and mineral exploration would be conducted on property where the mining rights and surface rights are held separately

Key:
MNDM – Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
EBR - Environmental Bill of Rights
FOCA - Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations

Review Schedule

• MNDM invites Public Consultation through the EBR registry.
– This proposal was posted for a 60 day public review and comment period starting July 18, 2007 until September 16, 2007.
• Submissions were made by various organizations and individuals by the due date.
• The Provincial Election occurred where Liberals were re-elected and the new Minister Gravelle was assigned to MNDM.
• Expectations were for the review to be completed with legislative changes which included government initiatives to Clarify and modernize mineral resource stewardship per the EBR description.
Such items were to include:-
– Address concerns of surface rights holders
– Develop a more effective Aboriginal consultation approach
– Reduce impact on the environment
– Increase list of lands that are not open for claim staking
– Revise consent requirements
– Ensure that the listed private property values are protected,
• According to FOCA the above review is stalled pending a full review of the Mining Act which may take up to 4 years. This is outside of the current governments’ term of office,
• In the meantime MNDM continues ‘business as usual’ without guarantee of completing what they set out to do effectively in EBR Registry Number: 010-1018
• Hopefully the current Government will complete this in a timely manner as expected.

Buckshot Lake Cottagers Association Input highlights

• Reunite surface and mining rights in Southern Ontario. (Includes SE and SW)
• Written consent required on all lands that are privately owned before allowing any claim staking or prospecting.
• Serious ecological assessments required before permission for test drilling is given by Government This is particularly true for uranium exploration.
• All native land claims must be resolved prior to accessing the lands to be prospected.
• Restrict staking only to areas identified as having significant Mineral potential by government geological surveys.
• Keep the current ‘no staking’ or ‘exploration for minerals’ criteria but add the following:
Managed woodlots, Conservation areas, Significant wetlands, Valley lands of the main stem watershed, World Heritage sites
• Compensation guide should be provided to all landowners before land is staked.
• Compensation should include loss of property value.
• All changes to exploration plans should require consent from the landowner.
• MNDM needs to address issues of liability on staked land.
• Challenge of Prospector Claims. Process for challenging any mining activity appears to be flawed owing to the ministry acting in a conflict of interest to promote mining in Ontario.
• Exploration and Mining Closure Costs. In many parts of the world including some provinces in Canada, mining companies are required to post bonds before commencing each step in the creation of a mine including initial prospecting.
• Tighten the regulation for acquiring a Prospector’s license. It should have a ‘Knowledge Requirement’ as well as a signed agreement that it would only be used for mineral prospecting and not just to avoid trespass laws on private land.

Federation of Ontario Cottagers Associations (FOCA)
Escalation Highlights.

• FOCA has filed a complaint on this matter to the Office of the Ontario Ombudsman. The Ombudsman is investigating.
• Recently events in Southeastern Ontario dealing with the incarceration of Aboriginal mining protestors is a showcase of the Government’s lack of leadership causing difficult decisions by the judiciary.

• For More detail.
– Buckshot Lake Cottagers Association input to the review is appended.
– The FOCA press release is also appended.
– EBR Registry Number: 010-1018 is located at http://www.ebr.gov.on.ca/ERS-WEBExternal/displaynoticecontent.do?noticeId=MTAxMDIx&statusId=MTUwOTE1&language=en