|Written By: Betty M. McGie
Chairperson Mining Liaison Committee
|Originally Published in the December 1990
issue of The Outfitter Magazine.
In our efforts to bring the NOTO membership current information on the present status of the new Mining Act and the accompanying regulation, we will first review the ‘Approved Mandate’ that was set out by the NOTO Board of Directors some two years ago….
“To review the Mining Act and the various resource Management guidelines as they relate to our Northern Ontario Tourism. Since these related policies fall under the mandate of the Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Mines, we wish to develop comprehensive “Integrated Resource Management Guidelines for Mining for the Protection of Tourism Values.”
to emphasize the importance of tourism within the government’s natural resources management programs
to develop guidelines for the mining industry to protect other resource users – i.e. tourism
to broaden the terms of the “Timber Management Guidelines for the Protection of Tourism Values” to apply to mining as well as forestry
Broad Objective – “Appreciation” – to provide varied opportunities for exploration and appreciation of the natural resources
to establish ‘tourism’ as an important resource user INDUSTRY in Northern Ontario – along with mining and forestry
liaison with Ministry of Mines
dispute resolution between Mining and Tourism
In NOTO’s initial response to the Mining Green Paper in March of 1989, NOTO emphasized the need for integrated resource management; we outlined the deficiencies in the Green Paper as we saw them; the flaws in the industry’s desire for self regulation when it came to concerns outside of that immediate industry. NOTO applauded the authors of the Green Paper for recognizing the need for identifying and protecting environmentally sensitive areas. We also raised issue to the need for identification and compensation for surface rights users. The need to explain ‘what constitutes damages’… We also pointed out that accountability for the prospecting industry needed to be strengthened. NOTO emphasized its desire to participate in the review process for the new Mining regulations. NOTO attended meetings with the Ministry of Mines, and Prospectors and Developers Association, in Toronto in the months that followed. We continued to communicate with the Ministry of Mines requesting further opportunity to have input into the plans on behalf of our membership. In December of 1989, the New Mining Act passed final reading in the House, and the drafting of the accompanying regulations began. NOTO’s Mining committee continued to contact the Minister of Mines voicing our concerns with the needs for protections of these wilderness resources on which we depend.
In July of 1990, we were contacted by a consulting firm in Sudbury, Wordsmith, requesting our participation in the drafting of the ‘first’ of a series of ‘green books’ being prepared by the Ministry of Mines to accompany the new regulations. “Mineral Explorations and Tourism” is a handbook being developed for those in the mining field to gain some understanding of the needs of those of us in the tourism industry. Although, these are only guidelines – similar to the ‘guidelines’ set out for the forestry industry, NOTO feels that we are now being recognized by the Ministry of Mines and those in the mining industry as being an important resource user. Our concerns are the FIRST being addressed by their new guidelines, and we are participating directly in the process. NOTO has attended meetings with representatives of the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, the Prospector & Developers and the Ontario Mining Association. We have had input into the first three drafts of the handbook, and are presently awaiting the fourth drafting which is further addressing the needs and concerns set out by the Mining Committee for NOTO. We have further received assurance from the Ministry of Northern Development and Ministry of Mines, that in the future, each Mining Recorders Office will have “Values Maps” indicating our tourism areas of concern and bases of operation. This will enable anyone seeking work permits or exploration approvals to know who is in that immediate area and where they can be contacted prior to any work taking place which may cause resource conflicts. To accomplish this, we have requested a coordinated effort between the Ministries of Natural Resources and Tourism to provide facts which already exist in their records through the Licensing, LUP’s and TMP processes. In other words, we are endeavouring to accomplish an integrated resource management process within the government Ministries that directly affect our tourism industry. I must state that NOTO’s efforts and requests have not been openly accepted by all parties at the table, but the very fact that we are in a fourth draft process indicates that the Government is recognizing our industry’s value and the need to protect our environmental future. Another aspect related to the Mining Industry has developed this year. The Ministry of Natural Resources and Ministry of Mines have agreed for an Environmental Assessment process to take place as it relates to Mineral Access Roads. This process is paralleling the current Environmental Process for Forest Access Roads that has been on-going for the past two years. The purpose of the roads may differ, but the access problems that follow for our industry are the same. For proper integrated resource management, NOTO does not feel that we can have two ministries developing two separate sets of guidelines for the same forest areas. Should you be aware of any public open houses in your area regarding an EA on Mineral Access roads, we urge you to attend and advise the NOTO Mining Committee of your findings.
The NOTO Mining Committee invites comments from the membership, and we wish to be made aware of any conflicts with the mining industry that any of you may be encountering. We need your support to put a strong voice forward for our tourism industry.