Are Ontario political party pronouncements echoing OMA’s vision for the future of mining?

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.

As we move closer to October 6 election day in Ontario, it is encouraging to see mining being part of the platform of all major parties.  Many of the topics and positions being presented by the Liberals, Progressive Conservatives and New Democrats seem to reflect the OMA’s plan for the future of mining in Ontario.  Last week, the OMA presented each party’s’ views on mining, however, the issues continue to develop.  The full text of the OMA’s vision for the future “Action Plan for Ontario: Taking Advantage of a Critical Window of Opportunity” can be found on the OMA website
The Liberal document “Plan for Northern Ontario” has a lot of mining content.   The OMA’s paper calls for “balancing conservation and development targets” and the establishment of a target for new mines in Ontario to demonstrate a commitment to the future success of the industry.  The Liberal platform says “at least six mines are reopening and four new mines are expected to open by the end of 2012 and we’ll open at least eight new mines in the next 10 years.” 

The OMA would like to see an engaged Ontario government working with the federal government, industry and First Nations to cut approval and permitting time lines in half.   While the Progressive Conservatives and NDP have supported permitting improvements, the Liberals have said “we’ll also work to ensure the federal government is at the table for Northern communities and First Nations in planning for smart development of the Ring of Fire.  We’ll continue to work with First Nations, companies and communities coordinating infrastructure and planning to ensure world leading environmental standards and a streamlined approach to approvals.”

The Progressive Conservative platform as presented in the documents “Changebook” and “Changebook North” reflects many of the recommendations contained in the OMA’s vision paper.  “Ontario needs a robust mining industry and the good reliable high-paying jobs it brings,” said the PCs.  “We will remove barriers by cutting red tape, getting energy costs under control, ensuring fair and strong land tenure and developing partnerships to bring investments in infrastructure that a strong mining industry requires.”  

“We will turn the promise of the Ring of Fire into a job-creating reality.  Ontario is sitting on a gigantic opportunity – tens of billions of dollars’ worth of jobs and prosperity.  That’s bigger than the Sudbury Basin.  It is a once-in-a-century opportunity for the North, for Ontario and for Canada.” 

The OMA has asked for “local municipal and First Nation communities to have a greater share of the benefits of mining from existing levels of taxation.”  The NDP’s “Respect for the North” document says “Mining Tax revenue from new mines will stay in the North with First Nations and Northern Ontario municipalities to meet the challenges facing the North.” 

The OMA’s vision wants “smaller and start up mines to benefit from the Northern Industrial Electricity Rebate and the recent change in the Global Adjustment calculation.”  The Liberals are advocating an extension of the Northern Ontario Industrial Electricity Program.  The NDP says “we will keep jobs in Northern Ontario and strengthen our manufacturing and resource industries by ensuring that Ontario’s hydro rate is competitive with neighbouring jurisdictions by making large and mid-size companies eligible for an industrial hydro rate.”

“We will also extend the Northern Ontario Industrial Electricity program, currently set to expire in 2013, to protect Northern jobs.  Qualifying companies will make concrete job guarantees so we know public money is being spent to create and protect good jobs in the North.”   The NDP wants to extend the Northern Industrial Electricity Rebate Program and allow smaller industrial energy users to benefit from the Global Adjustment recalculation.   Tax credits for employers of up to $5,000 per new employee and $3,500 for training new employees are on the table as well.  

As the campaign continues, mining continues to be a plank in the platform of all major parties.  The OMA will note the development of political party ideas and promises and keep you informed of any changes.   While the outcome of the provincial election remains up in the air, mining’s role in this province as a responsible partner contributing to the development of Ontario’s society is economy is certain.

September 14, 2011
The value of mineral production in Ontario in 2010 was $7.7 billion, which accounted for 19% of total Canadian mineral production.

Spending intentions for mineral exploration in Ontario in 2011 are estimated at $939 million — a record level.