NovaROC On-line Registry for Staking Claims
Launched in August 2013, Nova Scotia’s NovaROC system is the latest project to be successfully completed by Pacific GeoTech Systems Ltd. (PGTS). It “represents a significant step forward for the Province” said the Minister of Environment given that “mining and quarrying industry is a key creator of jobs and prosperity for Nova Scotians. It provides thousands of jobs, mostly in rural areas, and contributes hundreds of millions of dollars to the province’s economy each year. Mining is the highest-paying natural resource industry and one of the highest-paying of all industries in the province“ (Mining Association of Nova Scotia). With the implementation of NovaROC, Nova Scotia moves from 51st to 14th overall among 93 jurisdictions around the world in terms of the policy and administrative environment that encourages investment (Fraser Institute, Survey of Mining Companies 2011/12).
As in most jurisdictions in Canada, the Nova Scotia landowner owns surface rights while the Crown retains ownership of the subsurface rights. This has created historical friction from claim staking activities which is generally boots-on-the-ground and land activity intensive. The NovaROC system represents a modernization of the Registry of Mineral and Petroleum Titles by providing more timely access to mineral rights information and enabling clients to acquire and manage mineral rights over the Internet. NovaROC system now provides government agencies, prospecting and mining companies, and the public with immediate access to mining land status from anywhere in the world, thus improving communication and reducing conflict. More easily assessable information is a hallmark of improved education and understanding, as well as, transparent decision making. Users can conduct queries and retrieve attribute data on land and download maps or different scales. Industry players can acquire information on land available for acquisition, or information about current holdings. All of this facilitates economic development through the next steps of exploration and development. The NovaROC system has literally transformed the early and important stage of mining development from bureaucratic to cost effective and efficient, all of which has multiple economic development benefits. It helps the government fulfill its responsibilities to use provincially owned land for public benefit, protect the asset for future generations, identify and promote new types of economic development, keep jobs in rural communities (since that is where the bulk of the land is located), build and protect local economies, lead the development of green technologies, and emphasize values of good stewardship.