Rich Coleman, British Columbia Minister of Energy, Mines, and Natural Gas, announced in late January 2013 a package of regulatory changes designed to cut red tape and make exploration and mining more efficient in the province.

The package includes:

  • A new policy allowing companies to apply for Multi-Year Area-Based permits, so a company can avoid having to apply for multiple permits when working in the same exploration area.
  • Beginning in February 2014, the British Columbia provincial government will shift to a new electronic application system for natural resource-related projects. The first electronic application to be added will be a Notice of Work application.
  • The province will soon finalize a review of existing mineral and coal-land reserves. More than 50,000 ha of land have already been made available for exploration as a result of this review.
  • The province will work with the federal government to eliminate regulatory duplication and  develop a single, effective environmental assessment process.

Gavin C. Dirom, president and CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia, said, “We welcome the shift to a transparent online notice-of-work process, as well as changes to the Mines Act that will reduce red tape.”

Preliminary estimates indicate that mineral exploration expenditures in British Columbia in 2012 totaled C$680 million, an increase of 47% over the previous record of C$462 million in 2011. Over the past 10 years, the trend in exploration spending in British Columbia has been one of steady increases each year, except in 2008–2009.