Ontario Mining Association Presents Mineral Sector’s Contributions at International Forum

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

The Ontario Mining Association highlighted many of the contributions of mining in a web-based seminar of the Lake Superior Binational program.  “Ontario Mining: A Partner in Prosperity Building” was the title of the OMA presentation in a workshop on the Socio-Economic Aspects of Mining in the Lake Superior Basin.

“There are lots of statistics with dollar signs that could be used to illustrate the positive economic impact of mining,” said Peter McBride, OMA Manager of Communications.  “However, the real impact of mining is its role in developing people and communities.  Mining provides a broad scope of employment and entrepreneurial opportunities, community building and infrastructure enhancement.”

Ontario´s place as the number one mining jurisdiction in Canada both in terms of mineral production and mineral exploration was emphasized.  Mining provides Ontario with a trade surplus of about $3.3 billion, corporate tax revenues of more than $600 million and an industry payroll of about $1.2 billion, annually.  The sector invests about $2.7 billion annually in R&D, exploration, construction and equipment.

Other presentations at the webinar of the Lake Superior Binational Program´s Mining Sub-Committee, which was chaired by Mike Ripley of the Sault Ste. Marie based Chippewa Ottawa Resource Authority, included Peter Homenuck who is a consultant and professor emeritus in environmental studies at York University.  His topic was “Lessons learned and cautionary tales from Canada´s North.”  Also, William Freudenburg, a professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, presented a paper indicating that resource dependent communities in the U.S. do not do as well as they should when measured by the yardsticks of incomes, unemployment and poverty.

Jim Skurla, a professor at the University of Minnesota-Duluth spoke about the “Economic Impacts of Ferrous and Non-Ferrous Mining in Minnesota.”  His paper dealt with the economic spinoffs of mining in an area coverning seven counties in northeastern Minnesota and one neighbouring — and closely related — county in Wisconsin.  His findings on the indirect and induced impacts of mining were in proportion to and supportive of the OMA´s representative mine study, which was carried out by economists Peter Dungan and Steve Murphy at the University of Toronto.

The Minnesota study shows that 3,600 direct jobs in the iron ore industry support a total of almost 10,200 jobs.  Similarly, the OMA representative mine study shows that 480 direct jobs at one mine build up to 1,103 indirect jobs and 697 induced jobs for a total of 2,280 jobs.  Both studies dealt with both the construction and production stages of mine developments and the values of outputs.

The Lake Superior Binational Program was developed by the governments of Canada and the United States in response to a recommendation by the International Joint Commission (IJC) to protect the Lake Superior watershed.  The program has focused on the Lake Superior eco-system and participants along with two national governments include Aboriginal tribal agencies and interested groups from Ontario, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. 

The IJC was created by the 1909 Boundary Waters Treaty (BWT), with a mandate to prevent and resolve disputes along Canada-U.S. boundary waters. The BWT provides that boundary waters and their benefits are to be shared equally and that shared waters are not to be polluted on either side to the injury of health, or property, of the other.  The IJC also provides advice when requested on matters affecting the shared environment.