Changes to century-old mining rules in Ontario signal delays and added costs for hundreds of explorers in a $1 billion industry that provides a crucial source of new deposits for global metal producers.
Prospectors such as Northern Shield Resources Inc. (NRN) and Mistango River Resources Inc. (MIS), which are accustomed to drilling their mining claims without permission in the Canadian province, will need to submit details of almost every stage of their exploration plans and consult with native groups under rules published last week that become mandatory April 1.
Ontario says the changes will provide certainty for exploration companies and will help pre-empt disputes with native groups, known in Canada as First Nations. Prospectors say the delays and expense resulting from the new rules will be an added burden in an industry that relies on hard-to-come-by financing from investors.
“There’s enough hurdles in mining exploration these days with market conditions and financing, First Nations consultations,” Ian Bliss, chief executive officer of Ottawa- based mineral explorer Northern Shield, said by phone last week. “Now we are just throwing in another complication which slows the process, and there’s a cost to it.” Read the rest of this entry »