Mines (Regulatory)

Land Access and Sustainable Development

Land Access Action Plan

Image of rehabilitated pitBackground

The Manitoba minerals sector produces in excess of one billion dollars annually in total mineral production value. This sector provides significant wealth generation, export earnings, jobs, as well as materials needed to sustain industrial activity and contributes meaningfully to our high standard of living. The Manitoba minerals sector has excellent growth potential, and by providing a positive business climate to further encourage mineral exploration and investment, the economic and social benefits that the industry provides to the Province can be significantly enhanced.

There are land use, access, and tenure challenges that need to be resolved if the minerals industry is to remain economically viable. The industry needs assurance of continued access to high potential mineral lands in order to maximize the probability of exploration success. The current state of land use uncertainty and the need to streamline cumbersome environmental and land use permitting processes have been identified by the mining industry as a serious impediment to new mine development in Canada. This uncertainty concerning possible future mine development will inevitably lead to the sterilization and avoidance of some areas of the Province that have high mineral potential. Resolving the adversarial nature of the environment/development dilemna will help to provide for a new era of positive growth and stability for the mining industry in Manitoba.

The ongoing implementation of the "action plan" is an important step towards improving land access to areas with mineral potential and improving security of tenure for the mining industry. The principles of sustainable development have been codified in The Mines and Minerals Act and have become the legal framework to implement the concept in the mining sector. Manitoba is the only jurisdiction in North America to codify sustainable development into law.

Introduction to Sustainable Development

Mining is Manitoba's second leading primary resource sector, after agriculture, and is a cornerstone of the provincial economy. Manitoba annually produces in excess of $1.0 billion dollars worth of mineral product. The wealth generated from the mining sector helps pay for health, social, educational and environmental programs that improve the quality of life for Manitobans and at the same time, provides the essential materials required for industrial civilization. Manitoba has utilized its natural resources including minerals to achieve one of the highest standards of living in the world.

The state of our environment is important to Manitobans, and the diversity of landscapes and ecosystems within the province warrant protection. Manitoba is committed to establishing a network of protected areas by the year 2000 that represents the province's natural regions. Logging, mining or the development of oil, petroleum, natural gas or hydro-electric power or other activities that significantly and adversely affect habitat are not permitted in protected areas. At least 12% of Manitoba will be set aside for this protective lands initiative.

Land Access

Mineral deposits are non-renewable and the mining industry must continually discover and develop new economically viable deposits in order to maintain production levels. Ongoing access to lands with mineral potential for mineral exploration and development purposes and certainty of tenure for viable deposits are major components of maintaining a viable mining industry. Single or conflicting land use designations creates a climate of uncertainty and are a serious impediment to attracting and retaining mineral exploration. Every effort is being made by the Province to proactively plan resource allocation in a rational manner, which minimizes such uncertainties.

Network of Protected Areas

Manitoba's Natural Lands and Special Places included Federal and Provincial Parks, Wildlife Management Areas, Ecological Reserves, Heritage Rivers and Provincial Forests. These lands play an important role in preserving representative landscapes and ecosystems, and in sustaining life and biodiversity by supporting a variety of native plants and animals. Two types of natural lands occur:

  1. Designated Areas: Areas in Manitoba include national and provincial parks, wildlife management areas, ecological reserves and provincial forests. Some areas, such as Canadian Heritage Rivers, receive special management considerations even though they are not legislatively designated. Manitoba's network of protected areas will include national parks, ecological reserves, portions of, or entire provincial parks, wildlife management areas and provincial forest. Protected lands play an important role in preserving representative landscapes and ecosystems and in sustaining life and biodiversity of Manitoba.

  2. Protected Areas: Areas that are free from logging, mining or the development of oil, petroleum, natural gas or hydro-electric power or other activities that significantly and adversely affect habitat. These lands contribute to Manitoba's protected area initiative.

First Nation Lands

The Government of Manitoba and Canada have outstanding land entitlement obligations to First Nations in Manitoba. Land selections made by First Nations initiated under the Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE) or Northern Flood Agreement (NFA) will be converted into Indian Reserves.

Treaty Land Entitlement (TLE)

  • Lands selected by First Nation for Treaty Land Entitlement are not generally available for mineral exploration. Approval for mineral exploration must be given by the appropriate First Nation Band.

Community Interest Zones (CIZ)

  • Explorationists may stake, develop mineral claims and obtain mineral leases within lands identified as Community Interest Zones. Exploration permits must however be reviewed and approved by affected First Nations.

Northern Flood Hold Areas

  • Land compensation for outstanding claims for flooding damage will be turned over to First Nations to become reserve land. Mineral exploration is generally not permitted within these hold areas. Approval for mineral exploration must be granted by the appropriate First Nation Band.

Resource Management Areas

  • Resource co-management areas and boards are currently being established to provide advice on resource use and allocation issues within the resource management area. Although notification of mineral exploration is not a legal obligation it is recommended.

Resource Management and Land Use Program


Manitoba's commitment to "Sustainable Development" in the minerals sector is incorporated in The Mines and Minerals Act. The Department of Manitoba Innovation, Energy and Mines has developed a Minerals Strategy and implemented a land use program towards meeting the goals of the department's strategic plan.

Program goals are:

  • To provide fair and equitable access to land with mineral potential;
  • To provide legal protection for mineral dispositions, mining rights and lands with high mineral potential;
  • To minimize conflicts by avoiding incompatible land use allocations;
  • To improve security of tenure for the mining industry; and
  • To provide increased certainty in the permitting process.

Program initiatives include:

  • A comprehensive departmental land use and mineral evaluation review process;
  • Effective participation in interdepartmental land use review processes for both private and crown lands;
  • Developing an inventory of land use designations and mineral tenure information and;
  • Maintaining up-to-date land use data to assist industry in planning exploration programs.


For further information please contact:

Mines Branch
360 - 1395 Ellice Avenue
Winnipeg MB R3G 3P2
Phone: 204-945-1119
Fax: 204-945-8427
E-mail: mines_br@gov.mb.ca

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