In response to one of the Association for Mineral Exploration’s key recommendations related to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on mineral exploration and development in British Columbia, the Province of British Columbia has announced it will consider requests to extend those mineral exploration Notice of Work (NoW) permits expiring before December 31, 2021, until December 31, 2021. This measure will benefit holders of existing NoW permits who are unable to conduct field activities in 2020, or have needed to reduce the scope of their 2020 field program as a result of COVID-19, by providing additional time to conduct field activities without the need to apply for a new NoW permit.
NoW permit holders with expiring permits are encouraged to contact their designated inspector at the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources to discuss the process for seeking an extension. The Ministry has announced that it may also be contacting NoW permit holders directly to confirm if an extension is required.
Since the Province’s initiative has been made specifically in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the recently announced extensions will not trigger the “term extension” clause in existing NoW permits, which allows a permit holder to one extension. Consequently, NoW permit holders will still have the ability to exercise their right under the “term extension” clause to further extend the term of their permit in the future.
This is a positive step for the BC mining sector who is currently facing challenges because of the pandemic. This action will support NoW permit holders who have been unable to work in 2020 due to physical distancing measures and the lacking capacity to finance mineral exploration under challenging conditions.
With contributions from summer student Aisha Tung.