Ontario’s mineral sector: “Enriching the future”

By IM Staff
Published: Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Home to some of the world’s leading mining technology specialists, Ontario has long been at the forefront of the modern mining industry. Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines, outlines how the province is working to reinforce its status as a global mining destination.

Ontario, Canada has a long and deep mining heritage, spanning more than 200 years. As one of the world’s leading mineral jurisdictions, the province is renowned for its rich geology and diverse deposits of minerals and metals. Recent discoveries include high grade diamonds and one of the largest sources of chromite in the world.

Ontario’s 42 underground and surface operations cover a broad range of mineral commodities, from gold, nickel, copper, diamonds and salt to a large array of industrial and structural building materials such as stone, sand, gypsum, lime, clay, graphite and talc-nepheline-syenite, for the construction, chemical and manufacturing industries. 

Over the last decade, more mines have opened in Ontario than in any other Canadian jurisdiction, with further new mines currently being developed; many of which are expected to start producing within the next few years. 

Despite a challenging global economy and a rapidly changing mining landscape, Ontario remains a premier global destination for exploration and mine development.

New demands and evolving world markets require the mining industry to adapt to a fluctuating investment climate, rising operating costs, stringent environmental and safety regulations and ever-increasing international competition.

But, at a time when many global jurisdictions have been slowing down, Ontario is forging ahead, positioning the province to be a global leader in sustainable mineral development. The Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines is working closely with industry partners, all levels of government, communities and other partners to strengthen its place as a frontrunner to serve emerging new markets with mined commodities.

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Michael Gravelle, Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines, says that the government is determined to maintain the province’s position as a leading mining centre.  (Source: Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines)

Government support for the mining industry

The cost of conducting business in Ontario is among the lowest in the G7 group of nations. The province also outperforms most G7 countries (France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan, the US and Canada) in venture capital investment intensity. The province prides itself on operating a progressive, competitive tax regime which helps maintain an attractive investment climate. 

It has also implemented a number of other initiatives to support the mining industry. Ontario’s Northern Industrial Electricity Rate Program helps large industrial electricity consumers to reduce their energy costs by as much as 25%. 

Meanwhile, the Junior Exploration Assistance Program, funded by the government’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and to be administered by the Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA), is a new programme that will provide financial support for junior companies conducting or planning mineral exploration work in Ontario.

The provincial government has a proud tradition of collaboration with industry partners and organisations, including the OPA, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) and the Ontario Mining Association. These relationships are crucial to strengthening the mineral development industry, fostering research and innovation, increasing investment and risk capital and ensuring Ontario continues to enhance its competitiveness. The province recently released a renewed Mineral Development Strategy – a 10-year vision to position Ontario as the global leader in sustainable mineral development and a blueprint for building on the region’s global reputation as a premier mineral development destination.

The government is also encouraging exploration activities through modernisation of Ontario’s Mining Act. Proposed amendments will, if passed, foster greater operational certainty, increase predictability and transparency and improve regulatory efficiencies, all of which will help the mining industry reduce time and costs incurred between early stage exploration and production. 

Modern, streamlined business practices are geared at establishing a solid framework for progressive social and environmental responsibility, clear roles and mutually beneficial collaborative relationships.

Technological innovation

Backed by its legislative, R&D and export assistance climate, Ontario is recognised as an international hub of mining innovation. 

The province has a world-renowned mining supply and services sector, which sets standards when it comes to manufacturing state-of-the-art automated equipment, providing unparalleled technological expertise, enhancing productivity and environmental and safety solutions. 

The Ontario Geological Survey (OGS) studies the local geology, collects and publishes world-class geoscience maps, technical reports and digital open data sets used by the mineral sector to select and assess exploration targets.

Exploration, mine development, pioneering research and technological innovation in Ontario are a testament to the value and potential of its mineral sector.

International presence

In addition to its longstanding participation in the annual PDAC convention held every year in March in the provincial capital, Toronto, the Ontario government will this year be hosting and co-sponsoring Mines and Money Americas, also in Toronto, in September – marking the first time the mining investment event has been held in North America.   

The Ontario government’s support remains a key pillar in the future growth of the province’s mineral sector, especially as the world’s need for minerals expands and changes and the mining industry will require leadership and innovation in resources, technology and skills.