CLAIM YOUR MINERAL RIGHTS: PROTECT YOUR PRIVATE PROPERTY
If your private property lies outside an urban area in Québec, you probably don’t own claim to the minerals underneath your cottage or farm. Recent changes in Ontario give private property owners more rights, but it is still worth checking.
Mineral rights in Québec: who owns them?
The Québec Mining Act gives licensed prospectors and geologists the legal right to explore for and take mineral substances on privately owned lands for which they hold title to the mineral rights. This affects all landowners with property outside urban areas. In accordance with the Mining Act, titleholders can survey your property, take soil and rock samples, analyze rocks, stake claims, and drill for ore.
Property owners who don’t hold and maintain title to the mineral rights on their land have no recourse—there is nothing they can do. The person or company owning those rights can, without special permits, cut down trees on your property, dig pits and trenches, and remove up to 50 tonnes of material—down to and including the bedrock—for geological and geochemical sampling.
Mineral rights in Ontario: who owns them?
The short answer is that it depends where you own property in the province. New legislation introduced late in 2009 to modernize the Ontario Mining Act “withdraws Crown-held mining rights from staking” on private lands in Southern Ontario, and expands “the list of lands not open for public staking without the Minister’s consent” in Northern Ontario. This means that, for the most part, cottagers in Southern Ontario no longer have to worry about a prospector or mining company staking claim to the minerals under their cottage property. Existing claims and leases are being respected, and property owners can apply to claim any withdrawn mineral rights on their property.
The province is also moving from a physical staking system to a paper-based, map staking system.
The real concern for Ontario cottage owners and farmers is Crown land adjacent to their property, particularly within their watershed.
What can I do?
Property owners can protect themselves by being proactive. They can claim title to the mineral rights on their property. This claim is the only title issued for exploring and sampling mineral substances on private lands. Once registered, it must be maintained regularly. In Québec this means every second year; in Ontario, it means yearly.
Who can I contact?
Thomas L. White, PhD, a professional geologist who seasonally resides in the Gatineau, has more than 35 years of experience in the Precambrian geology of this region. Dr. White can help you establish a claim to the mineral rights for your property and then, if you wish, maintain your mineral claim title. For more information about your mineral rights in Quebec go to http://federationdeslacs.ca/projects/projectdocs/EchoesVol.7No2-e.pdf.
To schedule a consultation with Dr. White, contact him by email at white@ClaimYourMineralRights.ca or by telephone at 613-746-4422 (Ontario) or 819-457-9442 (Québec).