(Alberta) Mines and Minerals Act
The Act provides the Government of Alberta with authority to administer, allocate, and enter into agreements with respect to minerals. It applies to all mines and minerals and related natural resources belonging to the Crown including wells, mines, quarries and minerals. The Act defines mines and minerals, and sets out how agreements in respect to minerals are established, renewed or cancelled. The Act is administered by Energy except for Part 8, which is administered by Environment and Parks along with the related Exploration Regulation and the Metallic and Industrial Minerals Exploration Regulation. All exploration for oil and gas, and metallic or industrial minerals requires approval by Environment and Parks.
The Carbon Capture and Storage Statutes Amendment Act, S.A. 2010, c. 14, amended the Act in December 2010, along with a number of other acts, to insert provisions:
1. declaring that all pore space in Alberta is owned by the province;
2. enabling the Minister to enter into an agreement granting the right to inject CO2 into pore space within Alberta for storage purposes;
3. enabling assumption by the province of certain obligations on issuance of a closure certificate; and
4. creating a Post-Closure Stewardship Fund drawn from fees paid by lessees, to cover certain post-closure costs.
The Act also declares that coalbed methane is a natural gas and at all times belongs to the Crown. Natural gas and coal are distinct substances under the principles of the Act and therefore leased separately. Part 2, section 65(2) provides that the Minister, on the recommendation of the Energy Resources Conservation Board (ERCB) that it is necessary to do so for safety or conservation reasons, may authorise the lessee of a coal lease to recover natural gas, including coalbed methane, contained in a coal seam in the location of the coal lease. In tandem, part 5, section 92(5) removes the natural gas rights within the coal seam from the natural gas rights lessee. These two sections of the act are only invoked where a coal mine operator has successfully applied to the ERCB for the specified safety reasons.
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