Ontario Mining moves into Queen’s Park for a day

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 message that modern mining is a significant contributor to Ontario’s economy and society and a helpful partner in improving the province’s financial condition was well received at Queen’s Park. On Tuesday, October 30, the Ontario Mining Association and its member companies held their annual Meet the Miners event in the Legislature.

Although Ontario’s seat of government is a major international mining finance and services centre, this strength of the provincial economy is sometimes lost amidst the other activities in the city and the visible absence of mine headframes. It is important for the industry to constructively show its presence and its attributes from time to time in the province’s main political arena.

And the message is getting through. Mining has earned mention in recent provincial budgets and throne speeches and is gaining a larger presence in the business and mainstream media. CBC Radio recently included mining in a segment of the series “Toronto Juggernauts,” which featured strong and integral parts of the city’s economy.

There were several components to Meet the Miners Day this year. While the remnants of tropical storm Sandy may have left some mining participants awash with their travel plans and the prorogation of the Legislature found some MPPs in their home ridings, the participation rate was extremely high.

At the Meet the Miners reception in the evening, large contingents of MPPs, political staff, public service employees from key ministries and mining company representatives were on hand to celebrate the success of mining in Ontario and its contribution to the society and economy of this province.

During the more formal segment of the reception, each major political party expressed its support and appreciation of the mining sector. Minister of Northern Development and Mines Rick Bartolucci, who represents the riding of Sudbury, delivered this message on behalf of the Liberal government.

Deputy Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party Christine Elliott, who represents the riding of Whitby Ajax, spoke on behalf of her Leader Tim Hudak and her party. NDP Mines Critic Michael Mantha, who represents the riding of Algoma Manitoulin, spoke of behalf of his party and NDP Leader Andrea Horwath.

Earlier in the day, the OMA held a board of directors meeting in the Legislature. Part of the content of the meeting centred on gains in mine safety, which has improved by 57% since 2002. Guest speakers supporting this theme included Workplace Safety and Insurance Board Chairman Elizabeth Witmer and Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer George Gritziotis. Ontario is one of the safest mining jurisdictions in the world and one of the safest industries in the province.

Also, teams of mining industry representatives enjoyed meetings with Opposition Leaders and several Cabinet Ministers. Teams of approximately eight members each from a variety of OMA member companies, which produce different mineral products in different parts of the province, visited the Progressive Conservative Leader, the NDP Caucus and the Ministers of Labour, Energy, Environment, Aboriginal Affairs, Northern Development and Mines and Natural Resources.

The mining industry in Ontario has 27,500 direct employees and about 50,000 indirect employees. In 2011, the sector generated $10.7 billion in revenue. Also, mineral exploration expenditures surpassed the $1 billion mark, an all-time high. An improved understanding of mining’s important role in the future of Ontario, both as a generator of employment and wealth and as a provider of key materials for building a greener future, appears to be growing.

The OMA has been holding Meet the Miners activities at Queen’s Park in various forms for more than 25 years. It is intended to bring recognition of the importance of the industry to the seat of the provincial government.