What is being proposed?
There are provisions under this Bill which empower the GNWT to collect more geological information than is currently received.
Geological information is critically important to the Northwest Territories. It allows us to better understand our lands, make good decisions about using it, and possibly spur new economic opportunities.
- Statistical Returns: There is a section under the Bill titled Statistical Returns. This section empowers the GNWT to collect whatever information it deems necessary on a regular basis from companies producing minerals.These returns could allow the GNWT to collect more information — including possibly geological information
- Work Reporting on Mineral Leases: It is intended that for the first time, work reporting will be in place on Mineral Leases. This would mean those with Mineral Leases would need to submit geological information.This would then become part of the GNWT’s database of geological information, be interpreted by the NWT Geological Survey, and eventually made public once the Mineral Lease expires and the confidentiality period ends.
- Work Requirements on Mineral Claims: Similar to today, Mineral Claims would be required to submit geological information and work reports on an annual basis. Just like leases, it would then become part of the GNWT’s database of geological knowledge, be interpreted, and eventually become public.
How will this be done?
For each of these provisions, the exact scope of information to be collected will be set out in the supporting regulations. However, count on these basics:
- All information will be collected on a predictable and regular basis. The exact terms will be set out in regulations — and will be sensitive to timelines on other reporting requirements.
- A reasonable period of confidentiality of all geological information collected will apply to protect private commercial interests.
- Geological information will be made public after the confidentiality period.
- All parties involved will be informed of the specifics when regulations are developed.
Exploration and mining activities end up collecting a lot of information on the surrounding landscape.
Powers are proposed under this Bill that would allow the territorial government to collect more information on geoscience because that information is valuable — allowing us as a territory to better understand how to plan our land use.
Collecting this information as part of Statistical Returns required under the Act and through Mineral Lease reporting requirements means the information would be collected at predictable times in predictable ways.
Confidentiality for a certain period is necessary because, in the mining industry, geoscience is important information. Revealing it publicly while operations are underway could mean competitors have unfair advantages.
Making this information public after a confidentiality period is over will ensure that new geological knowledge adds to our understanding of our land, support decision-making on future land use, and encourage more economic activity in the future.
What is being proposed?
As a condition of starting, and continuing, to produce minerals in the Northwest Territories, companies will need to get and maintain a Production Licence.
The requirement for a Production Licence does not affect eligibility for a permit under the Mackenzie Valley Land Use Regulations.
The Production Licence is also not land tenure instrument, but rather an administrative tool used to identify and enforce annual reporting from companies.
How will this be done?
The Mining Recorder’s Office will issue and collect the applications from those wishing to begin producing.
Producers will then need to maintain the conditions set on this Production Licence to continue producing.
The intent is not to duplicate efforts. The Production Licence will focus on different kinds of information and requirements than those required under other licences and permits companies are required to maintain.
The specific information and conditions set out to meet the requirements of the licence will be set out in the regulations. However, it is expected that information required would include jobs and procurement information.
Indigenous governments and organizations and stakeholders will be kept apprised on their development.
Empowering this requirement will allow the territorial government to collect information in the public interest which may not yet be covered by other permits and licences.
Specifically, it will allow the GNWT to consider requirements which would only be appropriate for projects at the production stage, but inappropriate for those which may be at an earlier stage of the development cycle.