In September 2011, the B.C. government identified the backlog of Notices of Work, along with Land Act authorizations and Water Act authorizations, as bottlenecks in the current review process for natural resource development activities. The 229 Notice of Work applications that were backlogged as of September 2011 have been reduced to just 37 applications - exceeding the goal of 46 applications.
The government committed to reducing the time it takes for businesses to get decisions on their applications, while upholding its high environmental standards and requirement for First Nations consultation. Now that the reduction target is met, the government will focus on reducing the average turnaround time for a decision to 60 days for Notices of Work. Currently it is 85 days, down from 110 days in 2011.
Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations -
"Reducing this backlog early is a significant step towards encouraging investment in our natural resource sector. By committing to clearing this backlog, our government is supporting more investment in mineral exploration."
Rich Coleman, Minister of Energy and Mines -
"Our staff have been working extremely hard to help the industry conduct more mineral exploration and create mining-related jobs. Together with industry, our efforts are showing positive results, increasing mining production to about $8.6 billion in 2011."
Gavin C. Dirom, president and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration BC -
"Mineral explorers appreciate the ongoing commitment of the B.C. government to reduce the backlog of Notices of Work permits. Our members look forward to a further reduction in the permitting turn-around time, which will enhance B.C.'s reputation as a destination for more investment in mineral exploration and development."
- A Notice of Work is the initial application to carry out exploratory activities on Crown land to determine whether a site has potential for mine development.
- As part of the BC Jobs Plan the B.C. government provided almost $24 million to address the backlog challenge in the natural resource sector.
- Targets have also been set to reduce the backlog in Land Act and Water Act authorizations by 50 per cent by December 31, 2012.
BC Jobs Plan: http://www.bcjobsplan.ca/
Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations