Metro Convention Centre Toronto
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Good afternoon, everyone.
I’d like to begin by thanking Garry Clark, Executive Director of the Ontario Prospectors Association and Chris Hodgson, President of the Ontario Mining Association for joining me here today.
I welcome this opportunity to officially open the Ontario Pavillion and to highlight or, to be blunt, brag to the international mining community, about the many accomplishments and strengths of Ontario as a world leader in mining.
I’ve had the opportunity to discuss mineral and mining development with Garry and Chris on many occasions. Their insights are invaluable and, when it comes to achieving the ultimate goal of sustainable mineral development, I believe we are all “on side.”
I would also like welcome Mayor Marianne Matichuk of Greater Sudbury, Mayor Keith Hobbs of Thunder Bay, Mayor Tom Laughren of Timmins, and Mayor Al MacDonald of North Bay, who are in attendance today.
I know that they and other northern mayors are very supportive of our efforts to promote mineral development in Ontario. They will be the first to tell anyone about the positive economic impact of mineral development on communities.
I thank these mayors and their communities for sponsoring last night’s Ontario Reception.
Last but not least, I’d like to acknowledge all the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines staff here today. I’ve attended a number of these conventions as Minister and I know how tirelessly you all have worked to assemble this beautiful pavilion. Your efforts are appreciated and I want to personally thank you.
You are truly Ontario’s ambassadors to more than 25,000 delegates attending the greatest mining show on earth.
More than anything, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada Annual Conference offers us a unique opportunity to market Ontario’s advantages to the world.
And we’ve got a lot tell them. We’re telling them about our incredible mineral wealth, about our ministry’s many superior programs and services that support mineral developers; about our great investment climate; and our unwavering commitment to building sustainability in the sector.
We continue to demonstrate that we are working relentlessly to ensure that Ontario continues its reign as Canada’s leading mining jurisdiction and a major global player.
As a case in point, today, I am very pleased to inform delegates that Ontario has reached an incredible milestone in mineral exploration.
I am confirming today that in 2011, for the first time in history, exploration spending in Ontario has crossed the $1 billion threshold.
That is $1 billion rippling through Ontario’s economy for hiring geologists, engineers, claim stakers and drillers – for buying or renting heavy equipment – for purchasing lodging and food.
That is $1 billion invested in fulfilling the incredible potential of our natural mineral endowment.
That, my friends, is a billion reasons to smile.
And the billion dollar investment is up from a record level of $853 million in 2010 and a strong recovery from $536 million in 2009.
More money is spent in exploration in Ontario than any other jurisdiction in Canada. To date, Ontario has gained market share of exploration in Canada from 20% in 2007 to 27% in 2011.
These upward trends bode well for the future of the industry in Ontario.
Thanks to this high level of investment in mineral exploration, these are very exciting times in Ontario.
There are more than 600 active mining exploration projects on the go throughout the province ranging from grassroots-stage prospects to advanced exploration ventures.
In Northeastern Ontario, in Northwestern Ontario, in southern Ontario, we are seeing record levels of activity as mineral developers hunt for gold, copper, nickel, graphite and other minerals.
And, of course, we have the very exciting Ring of Fire prospect which could one day be one of the world’s largest discoveries of chromite and other metals. It presents tremendous opportunities for Ontario and offers the potential for significant permanent employment opportunities for generations to come.
Our government has committed to assisting the industry in opening at least eight new mines in the next ten years. Given this level of activity, I am very confident that we will achieve that goal.
• The research shows that a single mine can create 2,280 jobs, with well over half of those being filled by local residents. And that an average mine contributes $278 million to the country’s GDP; $220 million of which remains local.
Overall, our mining sector accounted for 21 per cent of the country’s mineral production in 2011 with a value of about $10.7 billion. It sustained 27,000 well-paying jobs, many in northern communities.
Moreover, our government is committed to ensuring that all Ontarians benefit from mineral development.
In particular, we are engaging First Nations to encourage their participation in mineral development. Our government takes the duty to consult seriously. We want to see everyone working together to build positive, mutually rewarding relationships.
And the economic activity that mineral development generates is critical for all of us.
In these trying economic times, our mining sector continues to be not only a source of wealth generation, but of pride as well.
As our government works to eliminate the deficit and strengthen our economy for future generations, a vibrant mining sector is a vital part of the equation. The industry can and will create jobs and lay the foundation for prosperity in communities throughout the province but particularly in Northern Ontario.
Our pavilion is staffed by representatives from various sections of our Mines and Minerals Division. They include our Ring of Fire Secretariat, our Aboriginal Relations Branch, our Ontario Geological Survey, our Mineral Development and Lands Branch, and our Information and Marketing Services Branch.
From our Northern Development Division, we have our Trade, Investment and Strategic Sectors Unit.
They are all eager to answer any questions delegates may have about investing in Ontario’s vibrant mineral development sector.
To all the delegates attending the convention I say simply, “Welcome to Ontario. We are at your service.”
With that, I declare the Ontario Pavilion officially open.