About Minerals Permits and Leasing
The Coal and Mineral Development Unit of the Department of Energy issues and administers agreements relating to exploration and production of Alberta-owned (Crown) metallic and industrial minerals and ammonite shell. The Unit also administers agreements relating to storage caverns and other non-production uses of minerals. Information about these agreement types and associated administrative activities is summarized below. For additional information, please refer to other information on this site including:
- Tool Kits - for requirements, guidelines and instructions for different mineral activities.
- Exploring for Minerals In Alberta - a booklet on mineral exploration requirement in Alberta.
- Going for Gold - a brochure about recreational placer mining in Alberta.
- Forms - to be used for permits and leasing
Metallic and Industrial Mineral Agreements
Metallic and industrial minerals include minerals such as diamonds and other precious stones, gold, iron and other precious and base metals, limestone and other stone, and salt (i.e., minerals other than oil, gas, coal, oil sands, ammonite shell and surface materials.)
The Metallic and Industrial Minerals Tenure Regulation provides for three types of metallic and industrial mineral agreements:
- Metallic and Industrial Minerals Permit
A permit grants the exclusive right to explore for Alberta-owned metallic and industrial minerals in a specified location. Other jurisdictions in Canada use the term "mineral claim" for this type of agreement. A permit can be held for up to 14 years, and is not renewable. While there is no annual rent, permit holders are required to conduct exploration work and must report on the work every two years. For additional information, please refer to the Exploration Tool Kit or the Prospecting Tool Kit on this site.
- Metallic and Industrial Minerals Lease
A lease grants the exclusive right to develop and mine Alberta-owned metallic and industrial minerals in a specified location. The term of a lease is 15 years, and it may be renewed. Annual rent must be paid. Royalties must be paid if any mineral production takes place on the lease. For additional information, please refer to the Mining Tool Kit on this site.
- Metallic and Industrial Minerals Licence
A 5-year licence can be obtained by individuals interested in recreational placer mining, typically using a sluice box along Alberta waterways. This licence does not grant exclusive rights to a specific location. Panning does not require a licence. Royalties must be paid if significant quantities of minerals are recovered. For additional information, please refer to the Mining Tool Kit on this site.
Other Types of Agreements
- Ammonite Shell Agreements
Ammonite shell is the fossilized shell of a marine mollusc. Specimens with iridescent red and green colours are mined as a semi-precious stone for making jewellery. An ammonite shell agreement grants the exclusive right to recover ammonite shell from a specified location. The term of an ammonite shell agreement set out in the Ammonite Shell Regulation is 15 years, renewable for 5 years. Annual rent must be paid. For additional information, please refer to the Ammonite Shell Tool Kit on this site.
- Special Mineral Leases
Special mineral leases are issued for underground storage caverns and other non-mining uses of Alberta-owned minerals. To apply, send a letter to the Coal and Mineral Development Unit specifying the location, geological zone and the purpose of the requested agreement. Special mineral leases are issued by order in council under the Mines and Minerals Act. A special mineral lease has a 15 year term, and may be renewed. Annual rental rates are specified in each agreement. For additional information, please contact the Coal and Mineral Development Unit.
Agreements for depleted gas reservoirs used as storage caverns are administered by the Tenure Business Unit. Please refer to the Tenure section on this site for contact information.
Surface Material Agreements
The Department of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development issues and administers agreements for production of sand, gravel, clay, peat and other Alberta-owned surface materials. For additional information, please refer to the Surface Materials Tool Kit on this site.
To select lands to include in an application, check the mineral activity maps (see Online Services) to determine where mineral rights are disposed or unavailable. An individual or company's application for an agreement identifies the location of interest and must be accompanied by all applicable fees (see below.) Applications and payment can be submitted to Department of Energy by fax, email, or in person at the Coal and Mineral Development Unit office in Edmonton. Required forms and contact information are available on this site. The Department checks, records and coordinates review of each application, as appropriate. If the application is successful, the Department prepares and issues the mineral agreement document.
Applications must be accompanied by payment of an application fee, the first year of rent, plus the Goods and Services Tax (GST), as applicable:
|Agreement Type||Application Fee||First Year of Rent||Term|
|Metallic and Industrial Mineral Permit||$625.00 + GST||not applicable||14 years|
|Metallic and Industrial Mineral Lease||$625.00 + GST||$3.50/ha ($50.00 minimum)||15 years (Renewable)|
|Metallic and Industrial Mineral Licence (placer licence)||$ 50.00 + GST||not applicable||5 years|
|Ammonite Shell Agreement||$625.00 + GST||$3.50/ha ($50.00 minimum)||15 years (Renewable for 5 years)|
Certain routine requirements must be met to continue to hold an agreement. Annual rent must be paid on metallic and industrial mineral leases, special mineral leases and ammonite shell agreements. Regular royalty reporting and payment is required on metallic and industrial mineral leases. A mineral assessment report of exploration expenditures and results must be filed every two years to continue to hold a metallic and industrial minerals permit. Changes to an agreement which may be required are described below.
Changing the Ownership of An Agreement
To change the ownership of the agreement, use the E-Transfers system (see Online Services) or request manually by completing a Change In Lease Ownership Form and Transmittal Letter (see Forms.) Send these documents to the Transfers and Encumbrances section (see form for address.) There is no fee for changing ownerships of an agreement.
Amending an Agreement
To change the area of the agreement or to request other changes, send a written request to Coal and Mineral Development Business Unit (see Contacts), giving the agreement number and the land description, or other changes requested. Amending the area of a metallic and industrial minerals permit is often requested as part of filing a mineral assessment report. There is no fee for amending an agreement, unless the amendment will result in a new agreement. Written requests will be accepted by mail, fax, e-mail or in person.
Taking a Metallic and Industrial Minerals Permit to Lease
If exploration results are positive after two or more years of holding a metallic and industrial minerals permit, the designated representative may apply to convert all or part of a permit to a lease. Send a written request to Coal and Mineral Development Business Unit (see Contacts) by mail, fax or in person. A request for lands in more than one permit, or a request for non-contiguous lands in the same permit, is treated as a request for multiple leases. The request should identify the permit number, the lands requested out of the permit, the mineral substances of interest and a reserve estimate for those minerals. The request should be accompanied by the usual lease application fee (above) plus the first year's rent for each lease requested.
An agreement may be terminated for a number of reasons. The designated representative may request to surrender the agreement before the end of its term, or may request or confirm that they do not wish to renew the agreement when it expires. Terminating a metallic and industrial minerals permit is often requested as part of filing a mineral assessment report. The Department may cancel an agreement for failure to comply with terms and conditions, or because the agreement has expired and request to renew has not been received. There is no fee for surrendering an agreement.