Dotted with lucrative gold mines like Red Lake, Hemlo, Musselwhite and Timmins, along with the nickel belt of Sudbury, Ontario with its storied mining history should be a prospector’s dream. In fact the province’s allure as a mining jurisdiction has never been duller, despite the promise of the Ring of Fire and a number of prospective gold properties.
Participants at a consultation forum earlier this week took the opportunity to blame the Ontario government for concentrating its efforts on the Ring of Fire – a chromite-rich development project in the James Bay lowlands of Northern Ontario – and neglecting other mining projects that would be easier to access than the remote Ring of Fire, which lacks key infrastructure for mining.
“There’s no tacit recognition by this provincial government that it believes in mining,” said Gino Chitaroni, president of the Northern Prospectors Association, in an article posted Friday in Northern Ontario Business. “All we hear about is the Ring of Fire. Let me explain something about the Ring of Fire, it’s not the only thing going on in this province. I’m sick to death of it.”
Chitaroni told industry players at the session, hosted by the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, that “he could think of eight to 10 mining projects in eastern Ontario alone, that would be viable with some investment, and much easier to access than the remote Ring of Fire,” according to Northern Ontario Business.
“We have a lot of projects out there that could be economic very shortly, but we have to encourage them,” Chitaroni said. “I don’t see it happening.”
Stakeholders want certainty in terms of infrastructure and electricity costs. Ontario has been criticized for having higher power rates compared to neighbouring Manitoba and Quebec, making it less competitive to producers.
In 2014 Ontario placed 23rd on the Fraser Institute’s annual survey of mining companies, falling nine places compared to the 2013 survey. Two provinces over, Saskatchewan was ranked as the world’s best mining destination.
“In Ontario, the New Mining Act amendments regarding First Nations consultation have resulted in complete incomprehensibility of rights on all sides,” Kenneth Green, Fraser Institute senior director of energy and natural resources, said upon releasing the report earlier this month.
The Ring of Fire in particular has been a disaster for Ontario in terms of industry perception. On March 12 the Ontario Chamber of Commerce graded the Ring of Fire and the results were not pretty.
The northern Ontario infrastructure project received two F’s, one for time to develop and the other for federal government commitment. The highest grade was a B- for drawing as much as possible from the local labour force and building up the skills of Ontario’s northern First Nations communities.
“Despite its significant potential, we are no closer today than we were a year ago to realizing the benefits of the Ring of Fire,” writes the reports authors.
“After a year of delays, public and expert perception on the viability of the Ring of Fire as a sound economic investment has soured.”
The authors tout the project saying the Ring of Fire would generate up to $9.4 billion in GDP, sustain up to 5,500 jobs annually, and generate $2 billion in government revenue, divided between the federal, provincial, and municipal governments.
The Ring of Fire project was dealt a major set back when Cliffs Natural Resources withdrew from Ontario operations in 2014.
Imagine the FN Indians and the Crown have been peeing in each others
cornflakes for a 100 yrs then all of a sudden some cowardly fool in the managing
government gets the bright idea that some small junior miner with zero
capacity should be forced into the middle of a turf war — cannon fodder abandoned to bleed out.
There is a good economic base?
Tear up Treaty 9. Yep, just surrender Crown sovereignty.
End Race Based Laws I say.
Premier Wynne do the right thing.
Come clean on the Solid Gold scandal, then resign
A government swindle and cover up of historical proportion.
Premier Wind does not and cannot do the right thing. She only knows how to hurt all persons White, Native, or in-between. She does not care at all for any prosperity in Ontario.
What are these 10 projects he speaks of? Anyone know?
Gino and all business people in Northern Ontario know that all the voting power resides in Southern Ontario the great majority of whom are only concerned with what happens in Toronto and Ottawa. Northern Ontario to those people is only a cash cow. That is why we get legislation that is totally biased to their whims. Separation has been talked about before sometime we will act like people elsewhere and do it. That way we can decide our own future. John Barker
Whatever government does must work . If millions are spent it must be recovered or the people are hurt, it must be cash ? Iron ore is down , Cliffs has closed operations in other areas , economies are weak , metals are down , shortage metals are falling . See Zinc , Cobalt and Tin . I know , I am invested in Zinc , Cobalt and Tin .
It does little good to build projects that close . It hurts everyone in the long run . Quebec ,? Look at the stock price of N. American Palladium . High taxes anyone ?
I am not Canadian , I must defer to you folks whom are Ca. I feel though in my gut , F*** Quebec and up and away go go go Ontario . It is only slightly lower on reliability to Africa and costs are lower ? I own stock all over the world Af. and Ca. included . I just look at reliability andn Africa is a bit higher than Canada , LOL . Next week it may swap ends and be other way .
Note , thanks Canadians I shall watch out for Ontario (Too Late Really….) .
So, lets HEAR what those 8-10 projects are in Eastern Ontario. Stop the BS and state facts.
leg- is-late in neutral now
The true north strong and free has been trampled on by politicians who cannot and will not listen to criticism from anyone affected by their irresponsible and self serving actions. It has to be replaced by action based on logic.
Let the government be the middleman to protect the interest of those involved in the industry The mining industry on one hand and the Aboriginal communities on the other. For good measure make sure that the environment is protected with regulations that can be relied on..
Establish how the pie will be split before exploration starts. The odds are clearly very long that success will be reached, so make sure the pie is split between the two parties in question. As the government has little financial interest in mine development they should only be able to recover costs associated with the third party role and not participate in any other way.
With a new Conservative majority government in place, now is a good time to press the government to change the ground rules. Southern Ontario was particularly hard hit by closure of exploration.