Historically, water use for prospecting did not require an authorization and over time mineral exploration and small scale placer mining were considered prospecting. This changed in 2016 with the narrow definition of prospecting under the Water Sustainability Act (WSA), and individuals undertaking these activities became subject to the requirement to obtain an authorization to use water.
In light of existing permitting requirements under the Mines Act¸ temporary rules were enacted to allow the use of unrecorded (available) water for mineral exploration and small scale placer mining activities without a WSA authorization, subject to new restrictions to protect the environment.
Government is now proposing to make those temporary provisions a permanent part of the regulations, and has released an intentions paper for public comment.
In addition to the existing restrictions to protect the environment, the proposed rules would provide an engineer or water manager with the authority to require an individual to obtain an authorization to use water in circumstances where there is a risk of significant adverse impact to the stream or to other authorized users.
Pending a public consultation period and government review and approval, the proposed provisions would be incorporated into regulation in 2019.
We invite you to share your thoughts about the intentions paper by leaving a comment below or sending an email to email@example.com. Comments will be accepted until November 26, 2018.