Proposed Building More Mines Act, 2023

ERO number
Notice type
Mining Act, R.S.O. 1990
Posted by
Ministry of Mines
Notice stage
Proposal posted
Comment period
March 2, 2023 - April 16, 2023 (45 days) Open
Last updated

This consultation closes at 11:59 p.m. on:
April 16, 2023

Proposal summary

Through Bill 71, the Ministry of Mines is proposing to make amendments to the Mining Act that are intended to ensure Ontario has a modern and competitive regime for mineral exploration and development. The proposed amendments aim to reduce administrative burden, clarify requirements for rehabilitation and create regulatory efficiencies.

Proposal details

Purpose of the legislative amendments

The Ontario government is improving the Mining Act to create the conditions for companies to build mines more efficiently. Proposed amendments to the Mining Act demonstrate responsiveness to feedback received from industry, would reduce administrative burden and create efficiencies that cause project delays and cost overruns, and provide regulatory certainty to drive greater investment in Ontario’s economy.

Proposed improvements align with the purpose of the Mining Act which includes encouraging prospecting, registration of mining claims and exploration for the development of mineral resources, in a manner consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights (including the duty to consult) and to minimize the impact of these activities on public health and safety and the environment.

Bill 71, Building More Mines Act, 2023, if passed, would make several amendments to the Mining Act including changes related to closure plans, recovery permits, and statutory decision-making authorities. More detail on each of these areas follows.

Closure plans

Part VII of the Mining Act requires that proponents (mining companies) have a filed Closure Plan before starting advanced exploration or mine production. A closure plan describes the measures that the proponent will take during the life cycle of the mine to rehabilitate the mine site. Currently, “rehabilitate” means to take measures so that the use or condition of the site is restored to its former use or condition, or is made suitable for a use that the director sees fit.

The proposed amendments in the Bill would:

  • Lay the necessary groundwork for anticipated regulatory amendments that would strengthen qualified persons certifications provided with closure plans, including establishing the concept of qualified persons in the Mining Act: this would eliminate the need for a ministry technical review as they would be fully certified by qualified persons.
  • Allow the Minister to issue an order, on request from a proponent, that allows the deferral of at least one of the required elements of the closure plan, which may include terms and conditions determined by the Minister. This would be called a “conditional filing order”. In all cases there would be a condition in the order to meet the prescribed requirements at a time specified by the Minister. The intent is to prevent the delay of mining projects where these studies / elements can reasonably be deferred without compromising the integrity of the closure plan.
  • Eliminate the need for a Notice of Material Change for minor site alterations (non-material) and allow certain administrative changes (e.g., the form of financial assurance or change in ownership) to be made to closure plans without requiring a closure plan amendment; (i.e. deemed amendments);
  • Codify the practice of allowing phased Financial Assurance in the legislative framework to create a simpler and clearer mechanism for proponents to submit phased Financial Assurance tied to a project’s construction of new mining features.
  • Amend the definition of “rehabilitate” and the related definition of “protective measures” to support the Minister’s ability to allow an alternate use or condition or feature to remain on-site post-closure (e.g. infrastructure), and to give greater flexibility and certainty to industry by allowing alternate rehabilitation measures and post-closure land uses.

Recovery of minerals framework

“Recovery permits” are permits to recover minerals or mineral-bearing substances from tailings and other mine wastes. The legislative framework for recovery permits was created through previous amendments to the Mining Act, but these amendments are not yet in force.

The current provisions in the Mining Act for recovery permits require that the condition of lands subject to a mineral recovery permit be improved (with respect to one or both of public health and safety or the environment) after the recovery and remediation activity.

The proposed amendments in the Bill would replace the requirement to “improve” the land subject to the recovery permit with a requirement that the condition of the land be “comparable to or better than” it was before the recovery activity.


Currently the Minister does not have statutory authority to make certain decisions under Part VII of the Mining Act regarding mine rehabilitation (e.g. decisions to file closure plans) or decisions related to early exploration. These decision-making authorities are currently vested in the Director of Mine Rehabilitation and Director of Exploration respectively. The Director of Mine Rehabilitation and Director of Exploration are Ministry employees, appointed to these positions by the Minister.

The amendments in the Bill would:

  • Remove the statutory role of the Director of Mine Rehabilitation and vest its former decision-making authorities in the Minister.
  • Retain the statutory role of the Director of Exploration but provide the Minister with authority to exercise any power or function of the Director of Exploration.

There are also clerical and housekeeping changes to modernize language and to update cross-references and section numbering.

There are no anticipated environmental impacts as a result of these proposed changes to the Mining Act.

Supporting materials

View materials in person

Some supporting materials may not be available online. If this is the case, you can request to view the materials in person.

Get in touch with the office listed below to find out if materials are available.

Ministry of Mines, Corporate Policy Secretariat

99 Wellesley St W
Toronto, ON
M7A 1W3

Office phone number
Mines and Minerals Division

933 Ramsey Lake Rd
Willet Green Miller Ctr 2nd Flr
Sudbury, ON
P3E 6B5

Office phone number


Let us know what you think of our proposal.

Have questions? Get in touch with the contact person below. Please include the ERO number for this notice in your email or letter to the contact.

Read our commenting and privacy policies.

Submit online

Submit by mail


Connect with us


Sign up for notifications

We will send you email notifications with any updates related to this consultation. You can change your notification preferences anytime by visiting settings in your profile page.

Follow this notice