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The AER’s role

The AER is responsible for the safe, efficient, orderly, and environmentally responsible development of energy and mineral resources through our regulatory activities.

In executing its mineral regulatory responsibilities, the AER will continue allocating and conserving water resources, managing public lands, and protecting the environment while providing economic benefits for all Albertans.

Other AER responsibilities include 

Mineral potential

The Government of Alberta has stated it wants to capitalize on Alberta’s mineral potential to become a preferred international producer and supplier of minerals and mineral products. According to Renewing Alberta’s Mineral Future, this will strengthen and diversify the economy, create jobs, and attract investment and address the shift towards a lower-carbon economy. 

Mineral types 

According to the Mineral Resource Development Act (MRDA), AER-regulated minerals include critical and rare earth minerals. These critical and rare earth minerals can be found throughout Alberta and are used in batteries, portable electronic devices, TVs, toothpaste, buildings, eyeglasses, computers, vehicles, hospital equipment, and many other daily-use items.  

Rare Earth Elements

Some of the minerals identified in MRDA include the following:

gold precious stones zinc limestone phosphate
silver copper salts (including lithium) marble sandstone
uranium iron sulphur potash shale
platinum tin granite quartz rock slate

The MRDA excludes the following: petroleum, oil, asphalt, bituminous sands, oil sands, natural gas, coal, ammonite shell, sand, gravel, clay, peat, and marl. The AER will continue to regulate petroleum, oil, asphalt, bituminous sands, oil sands, natural gas, and coal under existing relevant legislation.  

The regulation of minerals includes brine-hosted mineral resources and rock-hosted mineral resources: 

  1. Brine-hosted mineral resources are found in underground saltwater and are mostly extracted through well infrastructure. On the landscape, mineral extraction from brines will look like a traditional oil or gas well operation.  

    On March 1, 2023, the AER became the life-cycle regulator of brine-hosted minerals.
  2. Rock-hosted mineral resources are minerals extracted using traditional mining or quarrying techniques. On the landscape, mineral extraction from rock will look like traditional mining operations (e.g., open pit and underground mining).

    On February 29, 2024 the AER became the life-cycle regulator of rock-hosted minerals. 

rocks and minerals
Mineral locations
AGS map

The Alberta Geological Survey (AGS) has been researching minerals within Alberta for decades. This has helped us map minerals within our province and demonstrate the potential for minerals resource development. On March 2, 2023, the AGS initiated the release of data collected as part of one of the largest mineral mapping programs in Alberta’s history.

A subset of this data is available to visualize and download from the AGS interactive minerals map*.

Talking to Albertans

Since 2020, the Government of Alberta sought input on its mineral strategy and the MRDA. This feedback was shared with the AER to inform its engagement work and the development of the future regulatory framework. The AER expanded on the Government of Alberta’s engagement sessions from 2022-2024. Engagement activities spanned the province and included participation from Indigenous communities and groups, industry, and other stakeholders from ranchers to environmentalists to municipalities. Events included: 

  • public information sessions
  • virtual and in-person engagement workshops
  • public comment periods to help inform the final regulatory requirements
  • participation at conferences and events
Finding answers

Based on input from our public engagement sessions, we have compiled answers to commonly asked questions about the regulation of brine-hosted and rock-hosted mineral resources. If you have questions about a specific matter, you can contact the following: 

Report emergencies and operational concerns related to mineral operations 
Contact the Energy and Environmental Emergency 24-Hour Response Line: 1-800-222-6514. If reporting emergencies from outside Alberta, Saskatchewan, or B.C., please call 780-422-4505

Minerals Exploration permits and approvals @email  

Application submissions, preapplication meeting requests, and related questions @email 

Reports submissions @email   

General inquiries related to minerals @email   

All other inquires:   

Contact our Customer Contact Centre: 
Phone: 403-297-8311  
Toll-free: 1-855-297-8311  
Fax: 403-297-7336 

Questions about the regulation of brine-hosted minerals  

Questions about the regulation of rock-hosted minerals