The City of Thunder Bay, together with Fort William First Nation (FWFN) and the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) has initiated a Mining Readiness Strategy to address and strategically plan for growth in Thunder Bay and the Northwestern Ontario Region. The Strategy is a major step forward to help guide all of Northwestern Ontario in capitalizing on the many opportunities that mining development is expected to bring to the Region.

The Strategy can be downloaded at:


Introduction and Strategy Context

The Northwestern Ontario region is forecasting significant growth in mineral exploration and mining development. This growth is expected to result in substantial economic and social development for Thunder Bay, its surrounding municipalities and First Nation communities. The discovery and development of major gold deposits, nickel and chromite in Northwestern Ontario’s “Ring of Fire” and other mineral resources are expected to create a variety of business opportunities that positively influence the Region’s economic outlook. This growth will place unique pressures on infrastructure and government services as well as the current, and future, mining labour market.

The Mining Readiness Strategy (Strategy) is a comprehensive, inclusive and integrated economic development plan designed to help Northwestern Ontario stakeholders focus and capitalize on the many opportunities that mining development will bring to the Region.

The Strategy was commissioned by the City of Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) and the Fort William First Nation (FWFN) with funding support from a number of partners including FedNor, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund, and other contributors such as the Thunder Bay International Airports Authority Inc., the Thunder
Port Authority, Thunder Bay Hydro, TBay Tel, the Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association (NOMA), Lakehead University and Confederation College.

Social and Community

The Strategy included a community and stakeholder engagement program. The intent of the consultation and engagement process was to develop an understanding of the actions currently underway in response to potential mining opportunities and how previous experiences with mining are shaping current and future interest and priorities.

The consultation and engagement process consisted of a number of activities:

• Compiling a list of all stakeholders and refining/updating the list throughout the study as surveys were conducted, and through input received from focus groups and public
information sessions.
• Organizing and conducting telephone surveys, focus group and public information sessions.
• Conducting community meetings in the City of Thunder Bay and the FWFN to provide members of the public an opportunity to learn about the potential for mining in Northwestern Ontario, to understand the purpose of this Strategy, and to provide input.

The ultimate goal of the public consultation process was to inform stakeholders of the Project, gather feedback, respond to stakeholder comments and questions, and incorporate the outcome of this process through the development of the strategy.


Analyses of potential impacts and benefits reported in this Strategy are based on 10 mining projects. Nine of these are advanced exploration projects that have had studies completed ranging from resource estimates through full feasibility studies. The other is a proposed expansion to an existing mine. The ten potential projects under study are as follows:

• Cliffs Natural Resources Inc. – Black Thor Chromite Project (Ring of Fire area)
• Noront Resources Ltd. – Eagle’s Nest Nickel, Copper, Platinum, Palladium Project (Ring
of Fire area)
• Rainy River Resources Ltd. – Richardson Twp. Gold Project (Kenora)
• Rubicon Minerals Corporation – Phoenix Gold Project (Red Lake)
• Osisko Resources Ltd- Hammond Reef Gold Project (Thunder Bay South)
• Stillwater Mining (Canada) Ltd. – Marathon copper-PGE Deposit (Thunder Bay South)
• Bending Lake Iron Group Limited – Bending Lake Iron Property (Kenora)
• Treasury Metals Inc. – Goliath Gold Project (Kenora)
• Goldcorp Inc. – Cochenour/Bruce Channel Gold Project (Red Lake)
• North American Palladium Ltd. – Lac des Iles Project (expansion project) (Thunder Bay

For the purposes of analyzing the potential economic impact of mining sector growth, these 10 projects are considered to have the best chance of proceeding to construction and operation. Due to the extensive exploration activity and high geological potential within Northwestern Ontario, it is reasonable to expect that if one or more of these projects does not proceed they will be replaced by others that are currently not as advanced.

Economic Impact

An analysis was conducted to determine the economic impact (economic growth) that could be realized in Northwestern Ontario and the Thunder Bay region as a result of the development of the 10 selected mining projects.

To estimate the value of this economic impact an economic multiplier analysis was conducted to estimate the direct, indirect and induced economic benefits that will result. The economic impactof mine development includes growth of the gross economic product (GDP) as well as growth in employment as a result of mine construction and operation. The results of this analysis are summarized in Table 1.1.

It is estimated that the growth of the mineral sector from the 10 selected projects will result in the creation of about 10,000 full-time equivalent positions (man-years) per year for the next 10 years, and economic revenues to Northwestern Ontario between $1 billion and $1.7 billion per year.

For the rest of this Excutive Summary, click here:

Or contact:

John Mason – Project Lead
Tel: (807) 625-2480
Fax: (807) 623-3962
Email: [email protected]

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