KIRKLAND LAKE – The frustrations and problems prospectors are facing as they try to stay in business was front and centre at the Northern Prospectors’ Association’s Annual General Meeting. NPA President Gino Chitaroni didn’t sugar coat the very real challenges prospectors are dealing with. During his opening address Chitaroni stated, “I wish these were good times but sadly they are not for us in the industry. We are now at a crossroads where our whole industry and way of life is completely threatened.”
He sees prospectors facing three major issues. The first is the lack of financing, the second is over regulation and bad government regulatory guidelines and the third is the empowerment of First Nations at the expense of the mining and exploration industry.
In terms of being able to raise money for projects, Chitaroni said that is currently a world wide problem. He got much more specific when talking about over regulation, noting that the government’s decision to implement exploration plans and permits, map staking, the Far North Act and the overzealous renewal of the Mining Act, are hindering the exploration and mining industry. These changes, he said, “when this compounded by eco-centric government policies from other ministries spells disaster.”
When speaking about the provincial government’s dealings with First Nations, the NPA president issued a warning, saying, “First Nation empowerment at the expense of the mining and exploration industry which if unabated maybe the contagion that will spill off to other business sectors, private land holders, farmers and even municipalities. This is a massive sleeper problem that nobody wants to talk about in the press because those who do may be targeted for reprisals and branded bigots and racists.”
Chitoroni continued, “the system was once totally controlled and under the purview of MNDM and other provincial agencies has now the blessing of a parallel system of aboriginal rules and regulations covering Crown lands. We now have a system of separate permits fees, extortion and kickbacks and double-dealing under the table being forced onto prospectors, juniors, miners, contractors, and suppliers if they want to do business on Crown land and or with operating mines within certain First Nation territories.”
He said this type of thing is the very thing that the country has vigorously tried to eliminate companies from doing in foreign countries and at home with cases like the Quebec government investigating the construction industry. Chitaroni concluded his open remarks, saying: “We seek a better deal with the provincial government and need to have a transparent process that is fair to all stakeholders and First Nations where we all benefit and investment flows back into Ontario.”
For the original source of this article, click here: http://www.northernnews.ca/2015/02/17/prospectors-future-in-jeopardy