Meet the Miners at the Ontario Legislature Celebrates Industry Contributions

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 contributions of Ontario’s mining sector to society and the economy were celebrated yesterday at Queen’s Park by politicians of all stripes and industry officials at the Ontario Mining Association’s Meet the Miners event.  The industry can’t take the legislature to the mines but it can take the mines to the legislature at least one day a year.   Meet the Miners is an OMA initiative at Queen’s Park involving member companies and their employees, which helps shine the spotlight on the industry in government circles. 

At an evening reception, OMA Chairman and President of mining contractor JS Redpath George Flumerfelt welcomed guests and encouraged them to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the OMA, which has been representing mineral producers in the province since 1920.  He noted that the importance of mining to the future prosperity of the province was highlighted in the Throne Speech to open this session of the Legislature on March 8, 2010. 

“If we reflect back a year ago, we know the economic circumstances are much brighter today,” said Mr. Flumerfelt.  “Mineral producers continue to make solid contributions to employment, investment, regional development, positive trade balances and tax revenues.”

Mines Minister Michael Gravelle spoke about the positive achievements accomplished collaboratively with industry and expressed his excitement about the future prospects for the mineral potential for the Ring of Fire area in Northern Ontario.  Ontario remains the prime destination for mineral exploration expenditures in Canada.  He noted that about 200,000 Ontarians are employed in the mineral industry cluster and the value of mineral production was $9.6 billion ion 2008.

“We need to continue to educate people about how important the mining industry is in Ontario,” said Mr. Gravelle.  “My staff and I believe there is a great future for the mining industry in Ontario and for the vitality and economic future of the province.  We want to ensure that mining remains innovative, prosperous and productive. ”

Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak provided greetings on behalf of his party.  “We have extraordinary wealth beneath the earth and dedicated professionals to bring it to the surface,” said Mr. Hudak.  “Mining is a high risk, high reward industry and you put a lot of bread on the table with all the people you employ across the province.”

“Many people think of the industry as it was 20 or 30 years ago, not as the modern, high-tech industry it is today,” said NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.  “Mining should be better known for its environmental stewardship and safety performance.  There is no doubt the mining industry in Ontario is a huge part of our economy and we know how important it is to have a vibrant industry.”

Each representative of Ontario’s main political parties, Mr. Gravelle, Mr. Hudak and Ms Howarth were presented with a certificate at the reception acknowledging in their name a donation to the PDAC Mining Matters education program.

Earlier in Meet the Miners day, there was an OMA board of directors meeting, an industry lunch with Mr. Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry as the featured speaker, recognition of mining through a statement in the Legislature and several mining industry meetings with Opposition Leaders and a range of Cabinet Ministers.