Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources – COVID 19 updates for Explorers

Update from the Ministry

The Ministry of Energy Mines and Petroleum Resources is engaging with Indigenous Nations to explore the potential extension of NOW expiry dates for authorizations expiring prior to the end of December 2021. This would provide additional flexibility for operations in light of the COVID-19 emergency. Members are encouraged to contact regional mine offices for further details and discussion on their specific projects.

Directives from the Ministry to Explorers

The Ministry advises that exploration companies wishing to conduct work prior to the end of the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to develop Safe Operating Procedures (SOPs) to illustrate what measures will be taken to ensure that the operation will be compliant with broader requirements related to COVID including Public Health Orders. Additionally, members may also be requested to provide details with respect to staging areas as many small and rural communities are restricting access. The Ministry encourages members to ensure that interactions with residents of remote and rural communities are minimized.

The Ministry encourages exploration companies to reach out to Indigenous communities to advise them of planned activities and Safe Operating Procedures that are in place.

Members are also reminded of the importance of compliance with Part 6.2.1 of the Health Safety and Reclamation Code, which requires the Regional Mines office to be advised at least 10 days prior to commencement of operations. This is to ensure the Ministry has knowledge of active operations for communication purposes in emergency situations, as well as to fulfill regulatory responsibilities.

Members should stay up to date of all applicable Public Health Orders and guidance including the following:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/assets/gov/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/covid-19/covid-19-pho-guidance-industrial-camp-guidelines.pdf