Tag Archives: permitting

Canada to launch strategic assessment for new thermal coal projects

Canada’s Minister of the Environment and Climate Change, Jonathan Wilkinson, in partnership with Natural Resources Minister, Seamus O’Regan, have announced that Canada will launch a strategic assessment looking into how future new thermal coal mine projects will be assessed under the government’s Impact Assessment Act.

The strategic assessment will include, but not be limited to:

  • Environmental and health impacts of thermal coal mining;
  • Market analysis of projected demand for thermal coal, including economic impacts and impact on jobs in Canada; and
  • The use of thermal coal mining, including its impact on Canada’s international commitments and initiatives.

The United Nations Secretary General has called for no new coal plants by 2020, and Canada has plans to phase out traditional coal-fired power by 2030.

Wilkinson said: “An important pillar of the Government of Canada’s plan to fight climate change is phasing out traditional coal power generation, while ensuring a just and fair transition for workers and communities. With the phase out of coal power, it is important to consider the future of thermal coal mining. This strategic assessment is the tool included in the Impact Assessment Act to do this.”

Draft terms of reference for the strategic assessment of thermal coal mining will be available online for public comments early in 2020, according to the government.

It also said the Coalspur Vista Coal Mine Phase II project, located in Hinton, Alberta, currently undergoing an environmental assessment by the Province of Alberta, will not be designated for federal review under the Impact Assessment Act because it will be covered under the Provincial environmental assessment process, and the issues of Federal jurisdiction will be covered through other regulatory processes.

“If the project proceeds, it will be subject to all applicable federal regulations,” the government said.

Licensing and permitting: ensuring a successful diamond core drilling programme

The only thing consistent about licensing and permitting is how inconsistent and variable it is from place to place, says Boart Longyear’s Thomas Feehan*.

Laws, regulations, permits, licensing, and requirements can be different based on the country, state/province, city, and land ownership. Consequently, there is little information about the broader topic of licensing and permitting to help ensure a successful diamond core drilling project.


Designing and planning a drilling project is a complex exercise. Many risk factors should be considered to mitigate issues that could impact productivity and/or budgets. These include permitting and licensing, which could ultimately impede the success of the project. After careful planning, there is a healthy amount of cautious optimism that everything has been properly addressed and planned for, however, there is always that small chance something was missed.

The risks are costly if your project doesn’t have everything in place when it comes to licensing and permitting.

While it doesn’t happen very often, paying a drilling contractor stand-by rates waiting for a project that’s been scheduled, but not properly authorised or permitted, takes money from the project.

How much more exploration could have been achieved with the money lost by paying for services and support that can’t happen because a project is delayed on a technicality – usually paperwork?

There’s a risk of reputation as well. Costly mistakes aren’t great for anyone’s career or a company’s reputation.


While Boart Longyear is no expert in licensing and permitting, the experts are out there. We maintain working relationships with local consulting and engineering firms and you should too. When planning a diamond core exploratory drilling project, it is highly recommended that you ensure all licence and permit requirements are met before the drill crew and necessary equipment mobilises.

Additionally, careful planning for the size of the drill pad for the permits and figuring out the logistics of accessing a site can save time and money later. That way, a budget estimate for all aspects of the work can be adequately prepared to complete a project safely and effectively.

Drill pad layout can be critical to a safe, smooth, and successful drilling programme. A drill pad setup where safety or productivity is compromised can result in wasted expense and possibly lead to an accident. Not having permits with the right amount of surface disturbance for the project is a risk that can be mitigated with communication. A miscalculation in required disturbance area can lead to holes being removed from the scope of the project to remain in compliance with regulators.

Working diligently with all stakeholders in the permitting application process helps ensure the exploration/project team(s) and the environmental/permitting team(s) are on the same page. A simple oversight or misunderstanding can possibly delay site mobilisation or start-up. Ideally, these conversations should happen early in the planning stages of the drilling programme.

One of the biggest challenges of licensing and permitting for a diamond core drilling project is timing. Depending on workload and resources, government entities are not typically known for their speed. Early planning and working with experts can ensure the timing of licensing and permitting doesn’t affect your project start date. Obtaining most permits and licences takes longer than expected in most cases. Proper planning and early submission to agencies are highly recommended.

*This article was written by Boart Longyear‘s Thomas Feehan. Feehan holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Geology, a Master’s Degree in Hydrogeology, and a Master’s Degree in Business. He has 28 years of experience in mining with 24 of those years specialising in drilling programmes, lithium brines, mineral exploration, geotechnical/slope stability investigations, mining-related hydrogeology, mine dewatering and water resources