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Conversion planning for Ontario claim holders

By Tania Poehlman President and Senior Lands Manager In Good Standing

By Tania Poehlman President and Senior Lands Manager In Good Standing

The fabric, method of acquisition and management of unpatented mining claims in Ontario is about to change. Are you ready?

Extensive work has been invested into the modernization of Ontario’s Mining Act. This has been guided by years of industry consultation and careful industry-wide consideration of cause and effect. These efforts are now positioning the province to bring the vision behind Ontario’s Mineral Development Strategy as the global leader in the mineral sector to reality in late 2017/early 2018 with the implementation of the third phase of Mining Act Modernization (MAM).

The focus of change as it relates to exploration and the regulatory framework as proposed in Bill 39 is in the acquisition and management of mining lands in Ontario. The manual system of ground and paper staking and maintaining unpatented mining claims will be replaced with an innovative online Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS). Upon conversion to the online system, all active unpatented claims will be converted from their place on the land being legally defined by claim posts on the ground or by township survey to being legally defined by their cell and coordinate location on the provincial grid in CLAIMaps. Through this process, the legacy claims will translate into the new cell based grid system and be defined as cell claims and boundary claims within a cell.

Conversion will change the claim fabric, IDs, work obligations, due dates, method of management and regulatory framework for unpatented mining claims in Ontario. As radical as this sounds, the transition to an online mining lands administration system will bring greater accuracy and certainty of the location of claim holders’ mining claims, rights and interests, and offer powerful and flexible tools for the management of their land assets.

Even though conversion will proceed on all unpatented claims regardless of a claim holder’s level of participation, this is not intended to be a passive process for claim holders. Get engaged, be aware of the changes, mitigate any risks and take advantage of the many benefits and one-time opportunities that conversion will offer.

Where to Start

Request a one-on-one conversion session to find out how your claim boundaries and obligations will change.

This is a great place to start your conversion plan. Ministry staff will take you through a confidential, complimentary mock conversion to show you what your converted lands and new assessment requirements will look like post conversion.

These sessions are being offered regularly across the country. If you are not able to attend one in person, you can also request one via email at [email protected] and the results will be emailed back to you.

Georeference your unpatented mining claims to ensure they are accurately represented in CLAIMaps.

The claim boundaries that will be converted are those that are represented in CLAIMaps in advance of conversion (final determination). However, that may not necessarily be the location of your claim posts on the ground. It is critical that you look at CLAIMaps to review the representation of your claim boundaries. If there is a discrepancy between the field location and the digital representation of those boundaries on CLAIMaps, you can rectify this by submitting a georeferencing report on eligible claims to MNDM before September 1, 2017. MNDM’s Georeferencing Standards at outline the guidelines for this process.

Review underlying agreements and prepare a Claim Boundary Report to maintain the spatial extent of agreement obligations as they were originally intended.

Understand your land package and the terms of any underlying agreements. If you have a business requirement to retain the integrity of certain claim boundaries that would otherwise change through conversion, you can provide MNDM with a Claim Boundary Report. This will prevent those claims from merging at conversion. A formal process to submit this report will be made available in the summer of 2017.

Although information on root of title will still be available in the new system, you may also want to consider an addendum to your agreements to address any impacts of conversion on your business arrangements.

Get Connected

Ensure your address is up to date with the Ministry.

MLAS user names, passwords and PIN numbers will be sent to your legal address as shown in MNDM’s records. If your address is different from what they have on file, you will not receive the information you will need to perform any transactions in MLAS.

Check the Mining Act Modernization (MAM) website here. It is updated regularly with information you need to successfully prepare for conversion.

Subscribe to MAM’s update bulletins

This can be done on the MAM website. Subscribers will automatically receive notices of new information and bulletins being posted.

Participate regularly in MNDM’s information sessions

The Ministry has carried out hundreds of consultations and information sessions with industry, stakeholders, and Indigenous groups throughout MAM phase III and continues to make communications and engagement a top priority. If you have missed any of these sessions or if you have any questions, concerns or comments, get proactive and reach out to the Ministry at [email protected]

Smart has a plan. Ignorance has a story. What is yours?

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