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Project Application

Alberta’s landscape is rich in many ways: unparalleled scenery, towering mountains, vast prairies, boreal forests, and bountiful oil and gas resources. The geological strata of Alberta contain oil, oil sands, natural gas, and coal deposits.

The Mines and Minerals Act governs the management and disposition of rights for Crown-owned mines and minerals. The act is jointly administered by Alberta Energy, Alberta Environment and Parks, and the AER.

What We Regulate Under the Act

We are responsible for part 8 of the act, which relates to the exploration for mines and minerals in Alberta. We have this responsibility under the Responsible Energy and Development Act. Part 8 regulates

  • exploration for subsurface minerals, including petroleum, natural gas, and other minerals; and
  • exploration on both public and private lands.

Exploration takes place at the beginning of an energy project’s life cycle. For example, before drilling a well, companies must do the following:

  • Mine or extract coal or oil sands bitumen. This first step determines what’s in the ground and whether it can be developed.
  • Explore the surface and subsurface. This “geophysical (or seismic) exploration” might include drilling, building trenches, removing vegetation, or cutting grids.

We authorize and regulate geophysical or seismic exploration programs and activities under the Exploration Regulation 284/2006.

Read our fact sheet for more information about how we regulate under the Mines and Minerals Act.

What We Don’t Regulate

Our Mines and Minerals Act responsibilities are specific to energy resource development. Alberta Energy and Alberta Environment and Parks are responsible for administering the rest of the act.

Rules and Restricted Areas

Exploration directives
There are 26 exploration directives. Each directive details rules for specific exploration activities under the Mines and Minerals Act and Schedule 1 of Alberta’s Exploration Regulation.

Exploration of restricted areas 
Some lands in Alberta have restrictions in place for seismic operations. This interactive list created by the Government of Alberta identifies those areas. Search the list by county or municipal district, restricted area number, or legal land description.

Application Process

Submit an Application
Companies must submit their Mines and Minerals Act applications using the appropriate exploration directive and related form, listed below.

Applicants must include two separate cheques in their request for a licence or permit. These cheques are for

  • the exploration licence application fee, and
  • the exploration licence deposit.

The security deposit should not be combined with any other required payment.

Review Process
Our review process will vary based on the type of application. See the exploration directives under Forms and Guides, below, for details.

Additional Information

Geophysical Inspector Program
The Government of Alberta’s Geophysical Inspector Program enforces both the Mines and Minerals Act and the Exploration Regulation. The inspectors conduct random inspections of geophysical and seismic projects to ensure that companies follow legislation. Visit the Alberta Environment and Parks website for more information.

For inquiries about geophysical activities or our inspections, please email

Companies must consider the following exploration directives, forms, letters, and guides when applying for exploration activities under the Mines and Minerals Act

Please be aware that forms may be removed from this page as we continue to transfer application processes to OneStop .

Exploration Directives

Our regulatory requirements set out what companies must do in their day-to-day geophysical operations to ensure that they are complying with exploration regulations. The following exploration directives advise operators on how to conduct their field activities in accordance with the regulations. Exploration forms must be completed and submitted as part of our application process.

Exploration Guides and Policies

Exploration Forms

Notification to External Land Authorities