Mining Act and Far North Act need more work: OMA submission

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.

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The Ontario Mining Association´s submission on the Mining Amendment Act and the Far North Act suggests both pieces of proposed legislation need some additional work, if they are to achieve the government´s intended goals.  The OMA submitted a full version of its review of Bill 173, Mining Amendment Act, and Bill 191, Far North Act, to the Legislature´s Standing Committee on General Government today. 

Last month, OMA President Chris Hodgson presented highlights of the OMA´s views to this committee at hearings in Thunder Bay.  Mr. Hodgson was accompanied at the public consultation by John Blogg, OMA Secretary and Manager of Industrial Relations, Adele Faubert, Manager of Aboriginal Affairs at Goldcorp´s Musselwhite Mine, and Jerome Girard, Mill Superintendent at the Musselwhite Mine. 

“Recent turbulence in the economy has had a negative impact on our industry, but there are steps that the government can take to ensure Ontario remains in an optimal position to take advantage of the next boom in commodity prices,” said the OMA submission.  “Bill 173 and Bill 191 are a start in that direction, but only if this committee ensures that the amendments recommended are in fact implemented in a manner that will foster the growth of mining in the province.”

“The sustained success of mining as an economic engine of Ontario´s economy requires the following: Certainty of the rule of law and land title; Land access for mineral exploration: Investment in infrastructure, technology and training; Regulatory certainty and efficiency, and: Certainty of Aboriginal rights and engagement.  The OMA believes that in developing the proposed legislation, there is an unprecedented opportunity to foster a mining environment that promotes fair and balanced development that will benefit all Ontarians and ensure all of us a healthy and prosperous future.”

On Bill 173, OMA concerns centred on map staking, Aboriginal relations and the duty to consult, the purpose clause of the proposed legislation, dispute resolutions, rights of appeal and penalties and protecting the opening of new mines.  “We suggest that without significant resources from the government both in terms of money and expertise to support capacity building for the communities to develop land use plans, it is unrealistic for the government to expect any mining development to proceed in the Far North for a decade or more.”

On Bill 191, OMA concerns involved clarifying ambiguity and imbalance, building First Nation capacity, exploration within protected areas and a review process for land use plans.  “Bill 191 presents many challenges for our members, which if not rectified, will cause unprecedented delay, unnecessary conflicts and diminishing economic benefits for the province and communities in the Far North.”

A full version of the OMA submission is available on its website