An exploration permit allows you to carry out specific early exploration activities at specific times and in specific locations.

It is advisable to review the Exploration Permit Application instructions prior to starting the Exploration Permit Application process.

Exploration Permits include terms and conditions that may be used to mitigate potential impacts identified through the consultation process.

Some prescribed early exploration activities will require an exploration permit. Those activities will only be allowed to take place once the permit has been approved by the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry (NDMNRF).

Surface rights owners must be notified when applying for a permit. Aboriginal communities potentially affected by the exploration permit activities will be consulted and have an opportunity to provide comments and feedback before a decision is made on the permit. Permit proposals will be posted for comment on the Ontario Ministry of the Environment Environmental Registry  for 30 days.

Application process

Early Exploration Proponents who wish to undertake prescribed exploration activities on claims, leases or licences of occupation should submit an Exploration Permit application.

Activities that require a permit

  • line cutting that is a width greater than 1.5 metres
  • mechanized stripping of a total surface area of greater than 100 square metres within a 200-metre radius and below advanced exploration thresholds
  • excavation of bedrock that removes more than three cubic metres of material within a 200-metre radius
  • use of a drill that weighs more than 150 kilograms

More information on these activities can be found in the Activity Information (PDF) document. As part of our efforts to improve outreach to Indigenous communities the Activity Information documents are available in Cree, Oji-Cree and Ojibway. If you would like a copy of these translated documents, please contact NDMNRF.

Submission requirements

Exploration permit applications should be submitted at least 55 days prior to the expected commencement of activities. Exploration permits are mandatory as of April 1, 2013.

Exploration permit applications can be submitted directly to NDMNRF through the following method:

Access submitted permits

Exploration permits (XLSX) that have been issued show the submitted active permits. The table shows the permit number, the claim holder, township name and the project name.