2012 Federal Budget Proposals Applicable to Mining Companies

The 2012 federal budget (the “Budget”), released last Thursday, promises legislative changes to the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (the “CEAA”) that will streamline the federal environmental assessment (“EA”) process.  The central purpose of the proposed changes is to implement a “one project, one review” process, with emphasis on reducing the red-tape and time associated with federal environmental approvals for “major economic projects” (a designation that is not yet defined but is likely to include mines that meet certain criteria).  The Budget dedicates new money to the Major Project Management Office, to facilitate its mandate of assisting the proponents of major projects through the federal regulatory approval processes.  In March 2012 alone, three new mining proposals were added to the list of projects that the Major Project Management Office will assist.