Authorization of impact-causing exploration work

10 April 2024

On May 6, the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et des Forêts (MRNF) will introduce a new permit for certain types of mining exploration activities (ATI).

What will happen on May 6, 2024?

If you haven’t received your authorization from the MRNF, you will not be able to conduct impact-causing exploration work. You must have submitted an exchange report with your authorization request and obtained confirmation from the MRNF in order to carry out your work. Conducting work without authorization will result in your company being in violation and subject to penalties.

What types of work are affected?

Impact-causing exploration works include work using hydraulic force:

  • Mechanized excavation of overburden;
  • Mechanized rock stripping;
  • Surface bulk sampling:
  • Overburden drilling or bedrock drilling such as diamond drilling;
  • Seismic refraction geophysical surveys using explosives;
  • Gold panning using hydraulic pumps.

What is an exchange report?

The company must gather questions, requests, and comments from local municipalities and affected Indigenous communities, along with the responses provided by the company. The exhange report accompanying the ATI application is a summary of discussions with the communities.

The exchange report must include the following information:

  • Entities involved (municipalities, regional county municipalities, Indigenous communities, or others);
  • Communication method;
  • Date and location of the exchange.

Regarding the preferred communication method, if it’s a community with whom you frequently communicate via email, for example, you can continue this type of exchange. If you haven’t met the community yet, an in-person visit should be favored. The important thing is to agree with the community on the mode of communication.

What is the expected response time?

Once you have submitted your request (and your information), the community will have 10 days to respond. If no response is received during this period, you must indicate it in the exchange report and summarize the steps (e.g., email) you have taken.

The 10-day period is not a deadline if, for example, request is made for a meeting by the community after this period. If the company believes the community is requesting unreasonable meeting delays, we suggest that you note it in your exchange report and ATI request to the MRNF.

You should also consider that communities (local or Indigenous) are not all equally prepared for these changes, and response delays may vary greatly from one community to another. Overall, the timeframe between submitting the report of exchanges and receiving authorization could be around 40 days or less, depending on the verifications required by the MRNF.

Note: The government retains its constitutional responsibility to consult with and accommodate Indigenous communities when necessary.

Which communities should be contacted?

The information is available in GESTIM. However, some Indigenous communities’ territorial claims overlap. If you’re unsure about the information you have, you should ask the MRNF which community they consider affected by the exploration work.


What types of conditions will be attached to the authorization?

The conditions and constraints are limited by the Mining Act as they must relate to mining activities. For example, some restrictions could limit the period and hours of work, truck traffic, or the use of certain roads.


You must promptly submit your application to obtain your authorization, otherwise you will not be able to conduct impact exploration works beyond May 6.

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