Act now or miss out on [mining] opportunities, Hodgson warns [First Nations] – by Ryan Lux (Timmins Daily Press – October 26, 2011)

The Daily Press, the city of Timmins newspaper.

Two-day mining summit kicks off in Timmins

First Nations in Ontario’s Far North need to lobby government to cut down the time it takes for a mine to be approved by half or risk missing out on what could be the last chance to profit from the ore under their traditional territories. That was the message Ontario Mining Association president Chris Hodgson delivered to an audience at the Mining Ready Summit in Timmins Tuesday night.

“There’s this sense that the minerals are in the ground and will be valuable whenever we get around to developing them, but the fact is they might not be worth anything by then,” Hodgson said.

He pointed to research which shows commodity prices have been declining since the late 19th century, except for in times of great demographic change, like mass industrialization of the U.S., and the reconstruction efforts following both world wars.

Hodgson said the global economy is a decade into a 30-year “super-cycle” which is being fuelled by a growing urban middle class in countries like China and India.

He warned Aboriginal leaders at the summit that 20 years from now, commodity prices are expected to tumble and may not recover for years to come beyond that.

“After this is over, small remote mines won’t be economical anymore,” said Hodgson, adding demand will be met by recycled products and large, accessible deposits.

“The old saying that time is money has never been truer.”

Hodgson said the government needs to cut approval periods in half, from an average of 10 years now down to five.

If the time between an ore find and beginning of production can be halved, Hodgson said that leaves 15 years for Northern Ontario to dig up as much ore as possible.

Citing a University of Toronto research project paid for by the OMA, Hodgson described the impact a single mine can have on a local economy.

The research showed one mine on average creates 2,280 jobs, 1,500 of which tend to be filled by local residents.

An average mine contributes $278 million annually to the country’s Gross Domestic Product, $220 million of which remains local.

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