Part 3, Bulk Sampling Permit
In Part 1 of the series, “Starting a Mine in B.C.”, I covered the procedures for acquiring mineral claims. Part 2 was about work requirement for maintaining them. If you missed out on these articles, links are available below.
To perform physical exploration and development work, a permit needs to be acquired from the B.C ministry of Energy and Mine. This article will cover 3 types of applications and will a focus on the bulk sampling permit which allows the tenure holder to mine upto 10,000 tonnes.
Three kind of applications are:
- One Year Permit
- Multi-Year Permit
- Multi-Year Area-Based Permit
One Year Permit
As the name suggests, a One Year Permit allows the holder to conduct exploration activities over one year. For this permit, locations of proposed activities must be specified. At the end of the year, an Annual Summary outlining all the activities conducted must be submitted.
An advantage of a One Year Permit can be that it can be processed at a much faster rate.
A Multi-Year permit allows the holder to conduct exploration activities over 2-5 years. Exact location of proposed activities must be identified in the application. Like One Year Permit, a summary is required at the end of each year.
Multi-Year, Area Based Permit
This permit allows flexibility; the applicant only needs to specify the general area for proposed activities. It allows the tenure holders to change the sequence of exploration activities and modify exploration plans in latter years. The permit is valid for two to five years. At the end of each year, a summary needs to be submitted in addition to plans for the next year.
There are advantages for a multi-year permit. This permit allows tenure holders to commit to longer term work programs. Tenure holders do not need to repetitively consult first nations ;it reduces the administrative burden, mutually. However, please note that engaging first nation through the exploration process is a good practice as it can lead to the success of your project in the later stages.
Mineral exploration and evaluation are conducted in a staged manner that leads to an increasing likelihood that a deposit is worthy of production. Bulk sampling is a relatively costly program, generally carried out late in the evaluation process to measure the efficiency of small samples.
Costs related to assay, extractive mineralogical studies and mineral processing analysis of the samples can also be credited as technical work to maintain your claim.
The bulk sample can be obtained from either surface or from underground via development drifts and raises. An ore handling pad needs to be constructed to store the bulk sample if the ore is not processed directly. Storage time should be minimized as it could contaminate and dilute the sample.
An attractive result from a bulk sampling program can potentially attract investment and interest from major mining companies for project acquisition.
Bulk Sampling Permit
Under Multi-Year permit application, the permit holder cannot exceed 10,000 tonnes over 5 years. Whereas, for One Year permit application, the permit holder is limited to only 1,000 tonnes. The objective of this permit is to allow the tenure holder to test the ore for mineral content, verify ore grades, conduct metallurgical testing and determine the market potential.
To obtain the Bulk Sample Permit, you need to complete an extensive list of technical documents as mentioned below.
- Bulk Sample Extraction Plan
- Firefighting plan and emergency procedures
- Identification and mitigation measures for potential hazards
- Details on energizing mine, i.e. portable power plant, hydro
- List of all equipment and specifications to be used underground or on surface
- Cross sections drawing of travel ways showing the location of all proposed services and equipment clearances. (Underground)
- Plan and section showing the presence of other workings (Underground)
- Ground control plan (Underground)/ pit stability (Surface)
- De-pillar sequence and plan (Underground)
- Underground plan of every level
- Ventilation Plan
- Plan for securing mine openings for seasonal closures and permanent closure (Underground)
- Effective metal leaching and acid rock drainage (ML/ARD) prevention program, including a prediction plan and appropriate mitigation, treatment, maintenance and monitoring measures.
- Archaeological Find Procedure
- Blasting procedure
- Explosive Storage Permit
- Timber Clearing permit (if volume > 50m^3)
Please refer to “Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia” while preparing above mentioned documents.
Determining Bulk Sample Quantity
For an effective bulk sampling program, the minimum quantity should be at least 5,000 tonne. Bulk sampling should be typically in the 0.1% to 1% range so that it constitutes a significant portion of the deposit. For example, a deposit with 1 million tonnes of reserve should bulk sample between 5,000 and 10,000 tonnes. Quick processing and testing of the bulk sample will allow you to make quick judgements in relation to the objective of conducting bulk sampling. As a result, you can further delineate the size of the bulk sample that needs to be extracted.
Bulk Sampling Site Selection
Careful planning and close monitoring is required during implementation of bulk sample program. Bulk Sample should be collected from multiple locations in various batches to answer the principal objective of the program. This should be done to obtain a representative sample of the deposit. The sample should also contain all the important characteristics of the ore such as grade, texture, fines, composition, hardness etc.
A production beyond the bulk sampling requires a mining lease or a major mines permit based on the tonnages. More on this topic will be covered in the next series. Stay tuned for exciting content.
If you have any questions, concerns or suggestions, please feel from to contact me at [email protected] or leave a comment below.
~ Good Luck ~
Nikhil Agarwal, EIT
Part 1-Staking a Mineral Tenure, Starting a Mine in B.C : https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/staking-mineral-tenure-nikhil-agarwal
Part 2- Maintaining a Claim, Starting a Mine in B.C: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/part-2-maintaining-claim-nikhil-agarwal
Start Notice of Work Application: http://www.frontcounterbc.ca/guides/mines/notice-of-work/overview/
Guideline for Metal Leaching and Acid Rock Drainage: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/mineral-exploration-mining/documents/permitting/ml-ard_guidelines.pdf
Policies for Metal Leaching and Acid Rock Drainage: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/mineral-exploration-mining/documents/permitting/ml-ard_policy.pdf
Mine Emergency Response Plan: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/industry/mineral-exploration-mining/health-safety/emergency-preparedness
Archaeological Chance Find Procedure: http://www.frontcounterbc.ca/pdf/ArchaeologicalChanceFindProcedure.pdf
Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/farming-natural-resources-and-industry/mineral-exploration-mining/documents/health-and-safety/code-review/health_safety_and_reclamation_code_2017.pdf
Step by Step guide for First nation consultation: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/environment/natural-resource-stewardship/consulting-with-first-