Grab Frodo! – Get Started on the Epic Journey Towards Natural Resource Project Approval!
It can take a loooong time to achieve a natural resource project approval! Which is actually a good thing because it shows that there are many steps taken into consideration and evaluated to ensure that a project is safe and sustainable for the natural resources involved.
Phases and Steps to Get a Natural Resource Project Approved
#1 – Exploratory Studies
To kick off getting your natural resource project approved you need to start by having your company complete a series of exploratory studies. This can involve such activities as surveying, geotechnical activities, as well as sampling aquatic and terrestrial baselines. At this stage, your company must also gain feedback from necessary stakeholders such as neighboring community members or First Nations.
#2 – Baseline Studies
Next, your company will have to provide 1-2 years of baseline studies to include in the environmental assessment (EA). What are baseline studies you ask? They can include studies evaluation the projects effects on areas such as hydrology, wildlife, watercourse crossings, and vegetation.
#3 – Baseline Assessment
If the results of the baseline studies prove that the project is environmentally feasible, your company will continue to carry out such baseline studies. Baseline information, impact assessment and mitigation planning are all required to be included in the environmental assessment certificate application. As well, this information will need to be provided to the environmental certificate if it is issued. A baseline assessment is a scientific study that describes the environmental conditions prior to construction. The general components included in the baseline assessment are agreed to within the application information requirements (AIR). This occurs early in the B.C. environmental assessment process. AIRs are then provided as available information to the public for any project that is moving through the BCEAO process. (Check them out here -> Project information centre.)
#4 – Environmental Assessment Submission (EA)
At this point, your company will submit the EA application to the federal and provincial governments. It may take up to two years for the EA application to undergo an entire review, at this point of the process, formal consultations with First Nations will also begin. Once all baseline studies have been completed, a federal/provincial committee will review the application and will recommend whether an environmental certificate should be issued. Your EA submission will indicate exactly how much environmental impact could occur and how the impacts are planned to mitigated. If your company gets as far in the process as to successfully submit an EA application, there is a high percentage of approval. Woohoo!
#5 – Canadian Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)
Once the EA application has been submitted, more formal interactions will be carried out with the First Nations and various other stakeholders. Once the EA application is reviewed and the committee recommends the EA certificate, the certificate may be issued and then the construction and environmental management plan (CEMP) is written by the company that outlines the major environmental commitments. This construction environmental management plan outlines high-level environmental commitments that the project will make that may not necessarily be covered by legislation, including requests from First Nations or other stakeholders. The construction environmental management plan (CEMP) outlines how the mitigation committed to in the EA will be carried out in the project.
#6 – Environmental Protection Plan (EPP)
Finally, your company will need to hire a prime contractor, who will write an environmental protection plan (EPP). This EPP is a plan that describes how the commitments outlined in the CEMP will be performed.
Yowza! Even though this can be a rigorous and time-consuming process, this is the kind of work that is essential when taking the steps to getting your natural resource project approved.