Conversion, replacement and amalgamation >>
Conversion of staked claims >>
Territory reserved for staking and map designation >>
Territory reserved for staking and buffer zone >>
Territory reserved for map designation >>
Map designation in territory reserved for staking >>
Real and immovable rights >>
Agreements between holders >>
Scope of documents relating to claim limits and enforceability >>
Overlapping mining titles >>
Expanding the surface area >>
Determining the expiry date >>
Number of terms of a claim >>
Distribution of excess work >>
Calculation of required work >>
The Mining Act deals with the management of mineral resources and the granting of exploration rights for mineral substances during the exploration phase. It also deals with the granting of rights pertaining to the use of these substances during the mining phase. Finally, the act establishes the rights and obligations of the holders of mining rights to ensure maximum development of Québec’s mineral resources.
The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune has made it a priority to publicize the content of this new legislation as well as the procedures that must be followed for compliance. With this objective in mind, four documents have been published:
These documents provide mining stakeholders with the necessary information regarding their rights and obligations for each of the subjects.
This document deals with conversion, replacement and amalgamation. It presents the various measures implemented to allow staked claims to be progressively replaced by map-designated claims and to standardize the shape and area of the parcels of land that can be designated on a map.
This document has no legal value. The text of the Mining Act as published in the Gazette officielle du Québec prevails at all times.
Conversion makes it possible to replace staked claims by one or more map-designated claims.
Replacement enables the claim holder to replace map-designated claims whose shape and area do not correspond to those determined by the Minister, that is, cells measuring 30 seconds of latitude by 30 seconds of longitude.
Amalgamation enables the holder to replace map-designated claims occupying parts of the same cell by a new map-designated claim.
Conversion, replacement and amalgamation mechanisms can be initiated on the Minister's initiative or at the claim holder’s request. Regardless of the mechanism used, the process is conducted with a presumption against interference with vested rights. The parameters of the new map-designated claims are defined by the rules governing conversion in unsurveyed territory.
Conversion, replacement and amalgamation prohibited
There can be no conversion, replacement or amalgamation when the claim is subject to:
Applications for conversion, replacement and amalgamation do not suspend the term of the claims in question and do not free the holder from obligations relating to these claims.
Submission of an application for conversion protects claims to be converted from possible challenges by third parties concerning staking, staking rules, or the surface area of the staked claims.
Conversion and replacement are carried out free of charge . However, if the application for amalgamation is made by the claim holder, it must be accompanied by the applicable fees.
An application for conversion, replacement or amalgamation is analyzed to determine its compliance and admissibility.
When an application for conversion, replacement or amalgamation is incomplete, the applicant is given a grace period to send in the information or the document required; once that period expires, and in the absence of the required correspondence, the application is considered noncompliant and is returned to the applicant.
When an application for conversion or replacement is compliant, a proposal is sent to the claim holder:
When an application for amalgamation is compliant:
In unsurveyed territory (south of the 52nd parallel) and Îles-de-la-Madeleine
When staked claims are converted:
In surveyed territory
Staked claims can be converted into map-designated claims when the claims can be apportioned on the basis of cells measuring 30 seconds of latitude by 30 seconds of longitude.
The parameters of the map-designated claims obtained by conversion are defined by the rules governing conversion of claims in unsurveyed territory.
Since November 22, 2000, claims have been attributed by a system of map designation in Québec. This system respects the vested rights of the holders of staked claims.
From time to time, the Minister modifies the territories reserved for staking and map designation, as well as the shape and area of the parcels of land that can be designated on a map. Whenever a territory or the boundaries of parcels of land are modified, a notice to that effect is published.
The maps of mining titles show the boundaries determined for the territories by the Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune and can be viewed at any time in regional offices and through Gestim.
When the Minister modifies a territory, a notice of modification of territory is published to inform the public of the changes.
The territory reserved for map designation therefore increases while the territory reserved for staking decreases:
Since November 22, 2000 , the Mining Act no longer allows staking based on original surveying or the cadastre.
The territory is automatically modified, without notice, as claims that were staked on the basis of original surveying or the cadastre are either converted, abandoned, not renewed, revoked or expired.
When the Minister modifies the boundaries of the parcels of land that can be designated on a map, a notice of modification of boundaries of parcels of land is published to inform the public of the changes.
Cells which conform to the shape of lots or mining blocks can be replaced by the basic unit (30 seconds of latitude by 30 seconds of longitude) set by the Minister when:
Territory reserved for staking is generally located in unsurveyed territory and Îles-de-la-Madeleine.
The boundaries of claims are indicated in the field by staking posts. Staked claims are approximately positioned on the map of mining titles. The boundaries in the field prevail, except if they have been confirmed by a document regarding title boundaries and correctly reproduced on the map of mining titles.
Staking parks consist of parcels of land on which claims are staked, as well as a surrounding buffer zone. The buffer zone protects claims approximately situated on the map of mining titles.
New staked claims do not expand the staking park.
As long as the boundaries of staked claims have not been confirmed by the claim holders and correctly reproduced on the map of mining titles, the buffer zone surrounding the staked claims will be maintained.
For claims staked in surveyed territory according to the rules for staking in unsurveyed territory, the staking park ends at the boundary of the surveyed land and the rules relating to territory reserved for staking apply.
Claims that are staked on the basis of original survey or the cadastre do not constitute a staking park.
Unlike the perimeter of a staked claim, which is defined by posts, the map-designated claim's perimeter is defined by the boundaries shown on the map of mining titles.
The perimeter of a parcel of land that can be designated is determined in advance by the Minister and shown on the map of mining titles.
The Ministère des Ressources naturelles et de la Faune determines the shape and surface area of the parcels of land that can be designated on a map. The basic unit set by the Minister stems from dividing the territory every 30 seconds of latitude in a north-south direction and every 30 seconds of longitude in an east-west direction. Depending on the latitude, the cells can be from 40 to 60 hectares in area.
Though some cells may conform to the shape of lots or of mining blocks, the division is increasingly on the basis of cells measuring 30 seconds of latitude by 30 seconds of longitude.
The maps of mining titles, showing the boundaries of parcels of land that constitute map-designated claims and of parcels of land that can be designated on a map, can be viewed at any time in regional offices and through Gestim.
Since March 3, 2005, it has been possible to designate an entire cell in a buffer zone, that is, in territory reserved for staking, as long as the applicant is in possession of a statement from the holder of the staked claim, establishing that the latter is not located in the cell requested. The statement must accompany the application for map designation and the applicable fees.
Cell partially occupied by a staked claim
Map designation of a cell partially occupied by a staked claim can only be done by the holder of the staked claim, as long as the holder in question applies for conversion of the staked claim. The application for conversion must accompany the application for map designation and the applicable fees. The fees collected when the application for map designation is made are refunded after conversion.
The deeds conferring real and immovable rights to claims to be converted, replaced or amalgamated, recorded in the Public Register of Real and Immovable Mining Rights, can be affected by conversion, replacement or amalgamation.
For conversion, replacement or amalgamation to occur, the holder must indicate that the creditor has consented. The holder is responsible for obtaining the creditors' consent before applying for conversion, replacement or amalgamation.
After the conversion, replacement or amalgamation, the deed already registered in the Public Register of Real and Immovable Mining Rights can be replaced by another deed and registered again, at the holder's request. The holder is given a grace period to have the new deed, which takes the conversion, replacement or amalgamation into account, registered, free of charge.
Effects of conversion, replacement and amalgamation
The effect of conversion, replacement or amalgamation of claims is to extinguish any real and immovable right, but not personal rights, encumbering them.
The disappearance of the right encumbering the converted, replaced or amalgamated claim means that it cannot be enforced against the government.
Even though the right encumbering a claim is extinguished following conversion, replacement or amalgamation and is not recorded in the Register, the creditor retains the right to sue the claim holder for damages.
An agreement between holders is required when the claim to be converted is located less than 400 metres from a claim held by a third party. An agreement may also be required regarding an application for replacement.
The agreement must include the NAD 83 geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude) of the boundaries of the claims that are subject to an application for conversion or replacement.
The agreement may be replaced by a summary document indicating that the claim boundaries defined on the official map of mining titles are accepted by the holders. The agreement or summary document must make it possible to position the boundaries of the claims that are subject to the application for conversion or replacement and, ideally, the boundaries of contiguous claims or those located less than 400 metres away.
Boundaries of parcels of land
The boundaries of a parcel of land can be determined by claim holders to the best of their knowledge, without undertaking a search in the field. However, they must reflect reality and cannot be arbitrary.
Conversion without an agreement
It is possible for conversion or replacement to occur without an agreement:
The documents relating to claim boundaries are:
Any document relating to claim boundaries is:
The claim boundaries agreed upon become those that are considered for map designation in staking parks, conversion, replacement and modification of the territory reserved for staking, among other uses.
When a statement, agreement or summary document exists, the boundaries of the map-designated claim prevail over the boundaries defined by the staked claim posts.
A claim on a parcel of land that is also subject to another mining title can be converted into a map-designated claim under certain conditions.
During the conversion of a claim partly covered by a lease to mine surface mineral substances (BEX), the rights conferred by that title are excluded from the new map-designated claim at the time of its registration. This measure could also apply with regard to replacement or amalgamation.
The area and shape of a map-designated claim are determined by the MRNF. A claim obtained by designation, conversion, replacement or amalgamation must cover the entire area of a parcel of land, when the residual portion can be designated on a map.
However, in the particular situation where the residual portion is located in an area requiring prior authorization from the Minister, a study is required.
Expanding the area of a parcel of land does not affect amounts to be spent on work on the map-designated claim, for the term of the claim during which the expansion occurs.
Impossibility of expanding the parcel of land or attributing the residual portion
The residual portion of a parcel of land cannot be attributed when:
A new expiry date is attributed to claims resulting from conversion, replacement or amalgamation. It is determined on the basis of the average expiry dates of the claims in a group with a single perimeter that are to be converted, replaced or amalgamated.
The expiry date of claims resulting from replacement or amalgamation is determined according to the same rules that apply to conversion of claims in unsurveyed territory.
The determination of the expiry date is the result of an average; determining a common claim expiry date is a different process.
South of the 52nd parallel
The number of terms of a claim is determined in order to establish the minimum cost of work required to renew map-designated claims resulting from conversion, replacement or amalgamation.
The number of terms is determined for a group of contiguous claims with a single perimeter.
The number of terms of the new claims corresponds to the average number of terms of the claims to be converted, replaced or amalgamated. Terms during which the claims were suspended are excluded from the calculation.
North of the 52nd parallel
For any application for conversion made during the course of the two years following March 3, 2005, a map-designated claim obtained by conversion is considered to be in its first term.
The excess amounts spent for work carried out on the claims are distributed between all the map-designated claims obtained by conversion or by replacement, in proportion to their surface area.
However, at the claim holder's request, the distribution can be done on the basis of where the work was actually carried out. It is up to the claim holder to produce a table showing how the work should be distributed among the proposed map-designated claims. The excess amounts will be distributed among the map-designated claims that the holder selected following the proposal made during the process of conversion or replacement.
In cases of amalgamation, the calculation is made by adding up the excess work credited to each of the claims.
For the term under way, the minimum cost of the work required to renew the claims to be converted, replaced or amalgamated is applied to the new claims and must be respected during the first renewal following conversion, replacement or amalgamation.
The calculation is done by distributing the minimum cost of work to be carried out on the claims to be converted, replaced or amalgamated in proportion to the area of the new claim or claims obtained by conversion, replacement or amalgamation.
The calculation of this cost applies to a claim or a contiguous claim group with a single perimeter.
When a claim is obtained by amalgamation of several claims, the sum of the minimum costs required to renew the claims to be amalgamated applies.
The expansion or reduction of the surface area has no effect on the work required for the term under way.
For subsequent renewals, the work requirements are those stipulated by regulation.