Before you start exploring the mountains, you must understand all aspects of mining. There are many intricate rules and regulations to adhere to, involving large sums of money. The Mining Tenement System was established to control the whole Mining Industry while safeguarding the interests of both owner and occupier.
The owners or holders of these rights can lose their mining right if they do not work it properly within time, thus creating room for others to get involved. Other parties involved with mining illegally also lose their legal title over land or water that they might have occupied previously. The MTS creates a commercial incentive for people to successfully develop exploration projects into producing mines because this success benefits all stakeholders.
The Mining Tenement System is the mining industry’s system for ensuring that it operates without affecting future or existing rights. Most laws and regulations aim to ensure that the interests of all parties are taken into account before any action is undertaken.
The main components in the Mining Tenement System are:
Exploration licenses give permission for exploration but do not authorize any mining activity. This requires a prospecting permit which can be very expensive, requiring an application fee plus an annual rental fee with only a small percentage of successful applicants. With this high risk comes great reward when prospectors hit gold! If they find something valuable, they must apply for a Miner’s Right at their own expense, giving them full rights to mine the claim.
In the old days, mining was carried out on a relatively informal basis, with some people ‘claiming’ a particular area and undertaking mining without any legal authority. This is no longer possible as all leases must now be authorized by a lease from the Department of Mines.
Special Mineral Agreements
This applies to areas that have been leased but where there is still an unresolved land title or if it has been reserved for another purpose such as agriculture or conservation. Although you need consent to apply for one, they are more straightforward than full leases and cheaper too. There are several types, including conditional agreements, which allow mining only under limited circumstances, access agreements allowing entry onto adjoining land and water, and mining and settlement agreements which will enable both mining and land development.
A ‘miner’s right’ is a personal property right that gives you the authority to mine for minerals under the terms of your lease or agreement. It is an exclusive privilege that entitles you to take all steps necessary to explore, develop, and mine minerals from the parcel in question. Most leases specify specific activities such as drilling, trenching, digging test pits, etc., which require separate permits before they can be carried out.