Property owners with surface rights only (SRO) are vulnerable to claim
staking by any licensed prospector.
Lawyers and real estate agents as a matter of pactice may not tell buyers
that an active mining claim has been or could be recorded on the property
they are about to purchase.
Even though property owners are not aware of a mining claim on their
property, they have just one year from when a claim is recorded to dispute
With just 24 hours notice, exploration can occur on a recorded claim.
Exploration includes tree clearing, drilling, blasting and trenching
to collect samples.
Exploration can involve surface stripping up to 10,000 square metres
(1 ha) of area and the removal of up to 1000 tons of material.
This means there is no requirement to consider potential impacts on watercourses,
lake trout lakes, significant wetlands, groundwater recharge areas, or
the habitats of threatened or endangered species, prior to the exploration
activity taking place.
The biggest danger is acid leaching, which occurs when the overburden
has been stripped and underlying minerals react with water to form acid,
which then leaches into local water systems.
Given the tainted water disaster
in Walkerton and the provincial government's declared commitment to carry
out source protection plans, it is inappropriate to allow exploration
to take place in headwater areas, without proper controls in place.
In the municipal planning process, mining seems to take precedence over other economic pursuits or regulated protection of lands or water.