The mine approval process addresses the requirements of environmental, mining and land use legislation. The process in New Brunswick involves an environmental impact assessment (EIA) review process by the Department of Environment and Local Government (DELG) and a mining lease approval process by the Department of Natural Resource and Energy Development (DNRED). Both processes can be conducted in tandem however a mine lease approval cannot be granted until EIA approval.
Mining projects may also trigger a federal EIA review process under the Canada Impact Assessment Act depending on rate of production (exceeds 3000 tonnes per day) along with some other factors.
The EIA documentation is reviewed by multiple government agencies, both federal and provincial, as well as non-governmental stakeholders and First Nations. For the mining lease review, the feasibility study is a confidential document that is reviewed within DNRED, whereas the mining plan and program for protection, reclamation, and rehabilitation of the environment (or the ‘reclamation plan’) is reviewed between both Departments.
The Crown has a duty to consult with First Nations for mining projects and this would be conducted internally. The project proponent would also have an expectation to engage First Nations as early in the project as possible and consult through the permitting process. Guidance for consultation can be obtained by contacting the Department of Aboriginal Affairs.