The Government of Ontario introduced legislation to amend the Mining Act to attract more investment in the mining sector and strengthen the province’s critical minerals supply chains.
MPP George Pirie introduced the Building More Mines Act, 2023 on Thursday. If passed, it would make several amendments to the Mining Act including changes related to recovery permits, statutory decision-making authorities, and closure plans.
The proposed changes to the legislation would also increase certainty and confidence for business planning. Also it would generate investment in Northern Ontario, providing opportunities for economic development for northern and Indigenous communities.
“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.”
More specifically, the act would advance critical minerals projects, making it easier for companies to get a permit to recover minerals from mine tailings and waste, which are left behind after the targeted minerals are pulled from the earth.
Additionally, the act will improve closure planning by requiring more qualified professionals available to certify plans and allow companies to file a closure plan while deferring certain elements to a later date.
It would also allow companies flexibility in what techniques are used to rehabilitate mines after closure, with sacrificing environmental standards.
Today, I introduced the Building More Mines Act, 2023 at Queen's Park. Which if passed, would attract more investment in the province’s #Mining sector while strengthening Ontario’s #CriticalMinerals supply chain for #ElectricVehicles and batteries.#OnPoli #BuildingMoreMinesAct pic.twitter.com/HCU11ZP4x7
— George Pirie (@GeorgePirieMPP) March 2, 2023
Read more: NevGold submits exploration and expansion plans for gold project in Nevada
Read more: 2023 will be a ‘very strong’ year for gold mining: NevGold
Ontario accounted for 20% of Canada’s mineral production in 2021
Ontario produced in excess of $11.1 billion worth of minerals in 2021. It also accounted for 20 per cent of Canada’s total mineral production, and $3.1 billion worth of critical minerals. Additionally, the Ontario government released its Critical Minerals Strategy last year. This is a five-year plan addressing regulatory challenges to mine construction.
Specifically, Ontario’s ‘Ring of Fire’ region, a large, mineral-rich area located in the James Bay Lowlands of Northern Ontario, is one of the most promising properties in the province.
It demonstrates strong potential for critical minerals production. Subsequently, some of these minerals include chromite, nickel, copper and platinum needed for clean steel and electric vehicle manufacturing.
Finally, minerals mined and processed in Ontario work to support strategic sectors, including auto manufacturing, telecommunications and national defence.
“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,” said Chris Hodgson, president, Ontario Mining Association.
All of the proposed amendments will maintain Ontario’s environmental protection standards and meet the Duty to Consult with Indigenous communities. Additionally, the package of amendments will be posed on the Environmental Registry of Ontario on March 2, 2023 and be open for comment until April 16, 2023.
Follow Joseph Morton on Twitter