- Stephen Lecce, MPP
Ontario Building a Stronger Mining Sector
Updated: Mar 10
TORONTO – The Ontario government has introduced legislation to amend the Mining Act, that will, if passed, attract more investment in the province’s mining sector while strengthening the made-in-Ontario critical minerals supply chains for batteries, electric vehicles, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and other advanced manufacturing technologies.
“It shouldn’t take 15 years to open a mine. This process is too time consuming and costly, leading to project delays and lost opportunities for Ontario’s mineral exploration and mining sector,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines. “We need to get building. That’s why our government is introducing changes to the Mining Act to help attract more investment and secure the critical minerals that support the made-in-Ontario supply chain for new technologies like batteries and electric vehicles.”
If passed, the Building More Mines Act, 2023 would save mining companies time and money by:
Advancing critical minerals projects by making it easier for companies to get a permit to recover minerals from mine tailings and waste – materials left behind after the targeted minerals are extracted
Improving closure planning by having more qualified professionals available to certify plans and allowing companies to conditionally file a closure plan while deferring certain elements to a later date
Allowing more flexibility in the techniques used to rehabilitate mines once they are closed, while upholding Ontario’s world-class environmental protection standards
Creating more options for companies to pay financial assurance. Instead of paying financial assurance upfront, it could be paid in phases tied to the project’s construction schedule.
At a time when Ontario is securing game-changing investments in its growing automotive sector, these changes would benefit the entire minerals sector and advance Ontario’s plan to build an integrated supply chain by connecting mineral producers in the north, including those in the Ring of Fire, with the manufacturing sector in the south. The modifications to the Mining Act would increase certainty for business planning and generate investment in Northern Ontario to provide significant economic development opportunities for northern and Indigenous communities.
All amendments will maintain Ontario’s strong standards for environmental protection and meet the Duty to Consult with Indigenous communities. The proposed package of legislative amendments will be posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario on March 2, 2023 and is open for public comment until April 16, 2023.
In 2021, Ontario produced over $11.1 billion worth of minerals, accounting for 20 per cent of Canada’s total mineral production and approximately $3.1 billion worth of critical minerals.
The Ontario government released its Critical Minerals Strategy last year, a five-year plan that includes addressing regulatory challenges to get mines built more efficiently.
Ontario’s Ring of Fire region is one of the most promising mineral development opportunities in the province, with multi-generational potential for critical minerals production including chromite, nickel, copper and platinum needed for clean steal and electric vehicle manufacturing.
Minerals mined and processed in Ontario support strategic sectors including auto manufacturing, telecommunications and national defence.
“Ontario has a proud history of exploration, mining and processing, which has generated socio-economic benefits for multiple generations in communities throughout the province. Vale welcomes the Ontario government’s review and modernization of the Mining Act, which will enable the province and industry to remain at the forefront of the sustainable production of critical minerals that are essential for the global energy transition that is underway.”
- Alfredo Santana
COO, North Atlantic operations, Vale Base Metals
“Glencore is committed to responsibly source the commodities that advance everyday life and is very encouraged to see this modernization of Ontario’s Mining Act and the government’s commitment to critical minerals development in the province. The improvement of processes within the Ministry of Mines will strengthen our Ontario operations and facilitate their expansion.”
- Peter Xavier
Vice President, Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations
"As the world shifts to a greener, more connected and more tech-driven economy, the demand for Ontario’s responsibly mined minerals will continue to grow. This presents a generational opportunity – to create rewarding jobs, build a strong domestic mining-to-manufacturing supply chain, and be a key player in the global energy transition. Given that we are competing with jurisdictions across the world to feed the decarbonization-driven commodity super cycle, the government must take bold action to help Ontario succeed. This includes addressing current challenges in the Mining Act and providing a regulatory pathway forward for our industry leadership in the global marketplace."
- Chris Hodgson
President, Ontario Mining Association
“Ontario’s mining industry provides safe, well-paid, skilled jobs for women and men across the province, contributes to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, helps to meet the global demand for minerals essential to our future, and contributes significantly to the economic growth and prosperity of the province. Agnico Eagle is encouraged by the commitment of the Ministry of Mines to review the regulatory framework around the mining sector in Ontario to ensure continued protection of the environment and Indigenous rights, while encouraging investment in this important sector.”
- Natasha Vaz
Chief Operating Officer, Ontario, Mexico and Australia, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited
“Mining is a cornerstone of the Ontario economy and Newmont is proud to operate the Musselwhite Mine and Porcupine Mines, which continue to be major economic contributors and job creators for the province of Ontario. We appreciate the Minister of Mines’ proposed changes to the Mining Act that seek to provide industry additional clarity to support effective planning for closure while upholding the rigorous environmental standards that the Canadian mining sector is known for.”
- Bernard Wessels
Regional Senior Vice-President for North America, Newmont