Mines (Regulatory)

Exploration and Mining Guide

Environmental Regulations

Stage 1, Environmental Act Licence

As you move through advanced exploration to production, the scope of your activities increases and so does the potential for significant environmental effects. A key regulatory factor during these stages is the Environment Act E125.

During advanced exploration you may be required, depending on the scope of the project, to submit a proposal to Manitoba Sustainable Development. You will be advised, in the response to your advanced exploration proposal, whether this is required. In Manitoba, approval of a Stage 1, Environment Act licence for advanced exploration typically takes 60 days or less.

To move into production you will need to submit an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to qualify for, and receive an Environment Act licence. The time frame for this stage is generally dependent on the nature and location of the project, and whether or not there is a public hearing. The permitting process usually takes from three to six months if a public hearing is not required, and eight months if one is necessary. The criteria for triggering a public hearing is addressed in Step 4 - Public Hearings.

Step 1 - File a Proposal (Mandatory)

All listed developments must file a proposal in accordance with Manitoba Regulation 163/88 - Licensing Procedures. It requests information such as certificate of title, land use designation, a description of the proposed development and operating methods, fuel storage capabilities, potential environmental impacts and environmental management practices to be used at the site.

Take the time to meet with Sustainable Development staff and the public, prior to submitting the proposal. This consultation will allow potential concerns to be addressed early in the process. Make your initial proposal as comprehensive as possible and avoid the need to submit further information later on. If you have any questions on the issues to be addressed, or the information required, contact the Director of Environmental Approvals, Manitoba Sustainable Development.

To file a proposal contact:

Director, Environmental Approvals
Manitoba Sustainable Development
Suite 160 - 123 Main Street
Winnipeg MB Canada R3C 1A5
Telephone: 204-945-7071
Fax: 204-945-5229

Step 2 - Screening (Mandatory)

The proposal is reviewed by the public and a Technical Advisory Committee to determine whether any of the following are required: more information; a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS); and in some cases a public hearing. The Technical Advisory Committee consists of representatives from provincial and federal government departments. The public review is conducted through a media advertisement and the placement of the proposal material in public registry files located in government offices and public libraries across the province. At the end of this screening step your proposal will be forwarded to Step 3 and/or Step 4, or will progress directly to Step 5 - the licensing decision.

Time Frame: If at the end of Step 2, the proposal information is acceptable to the public, the Technical Advisory Committee, and the department, then a licensing decision is generally made within eight weeks of the proposal receipt date.

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Step 3 - Further Information (Discretionary)

If Step 2 results in the need for further information, Sustainable Development will forward questions to you directly. The additional information, once received, is also screened through the public and the Technical Advisory Committee for review and comment. A comprehensive initial proposal can avoid the delays associated with this step.

Time Frame: If further information is required then an additional six weeks of review time is required. The time required to prepare the additional information is controlled by the client.

If through the screening step it is determined that a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required, Sustainable Development and the Technical Advisory Committee will provide you with EIS guidelines specific to your project.

Time Frame: If guidelines and an EIS are required, then an additional 12 weeks of review time is required. The time to prepare the EIS is controlled by the client.

Step 4 - Public Hearings (Discretionary)

Hearings are not mandatory under the Environment Act E125, but generally are called: where a development proposal is of general concern or will affect a large number of Manitobans; or where significant public concerns are identified as a result of the screening process. Hearings are conducted by an independent panel called the Clean Environment Commission. The Commission's role is to conduct hearings and to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister based on evidence received during the hearing process. The final decision on the development proposal rests with Manitoba Sustainable Development.

Time Frame: If public hearings are required, then an additional 15 weeks of review time is required.

Step 5 - Licensing Decision (Mandatory)

Once the assessment process has been completed Sustainable Development will, either issue an Environment Act licence with limits, terms and conditions, or refuse a licence.


All decisions under the Environment Act E125 may be appealed within 30 days as detailed in the act.


Some developments may require both provincial and federal environmental approval prior to proceeding. In an effort to minimize duplication, delay and confusion we have entered into an "environmental assessment agreement" with the Government of Canada.

We have agreed to cooperate and coordinate respective environmental assessment processes. The result: an effective and consistent licensing process is available in this province.

Call Sustainable Development at a very early stage to determine whether both federal and provincial environmental approvals are required.

Director, Environmental Approvals
Manitoba Sustainable Development
Suite 160 - 123 Main Street
Winnipeg MB Canada R3C 1A5
Telephone: 204-945-7071
Fax: 204-945-5229

Guidelines for an Environmental Impact Statement

Any new mine development will require the submission of an EIS. As part of the licensing process, the Technical Advisory Committee and Sustainable Development prepare specific guidelines for each proposed development.

The EIS should be prepared by qualified persons and include:
  • An overview of the project's location, scope and duration,
  • A site description including the surrounding area,
  • Plans and description of proposed on-site and off-site facilities,
  • Proposed on-site and off-site development and operational processes together with identification of inputs (water, fuel, chemicals etc.) and outputs (pollutants etc. from the processes,
  • Assessment of the effects on the "natural" environment including: health of workers and neighbours, use of surrounding resources, and the socioeconomic environment,
  • Proposed mitigating measures to minimize adverse impacts,
  • Contingency plans to handle non-routine events that could affect the environment,
  • Proposed environmental monitoring facilities,
  • Closure plans (MR 67/99),
  • Public awareness program,
  • Technical references supporting the environmental impact assessment.

During the preparation of the EIS, make use of the experience and expertise of the project's Technical Advisory Committee. This committee will provide you with any required interpretation of the EIS guidelines and ongoing feedback about the content and methodology of the statement.

For Your Reference

Check this list of resource information for material that will be useful in preparing a Stage 1 proposal, EIS, etc...

  • "Towards a Sustainable Development Strategy for Manitobans"
  • "Manitoba Land and Water Strategy"
    (Available free of charge from Manitoba Sustainable Development)
  • Environment Act E125
    Manitoba Regulation 164/88 (Classes of Development Regulation)
    Manitoba Regulation 163/88 (Licensing Procedures Regulation)
  • "Participants' Guide for a Public Hearing"
  • "Clean Environment Commission Process"
  • "Guidelines Respecting Public Hearings"
  • "Ambient Air Criteria"
  • "Guidelines for Sound Pollution"
  • "Atmospheric Emission Criteria"
  • Recommended Buffer Zones for Protecting Fish Resources in Lakes and Streams, in Forest Cutting Areas"
  • Recommended Fish Protection Procedures for Stream Crossings in Manitoba"
  • Policy for the Management of Fish Habitat - Federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans"
  • "Manitoba Surface Water Quality Objectives (MSWQO)"

Contact: Sustainable Development and/or the Chief Mining Engineer in the Mines Branch for any of these materials.

Related Acts and Regulations

Province of Manitoba Acts
Government of Canada

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