The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.
Ontario’s Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle, and Greg Rickford, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, kicked off PDAC with an announcement of a joint investment of more than $785,000 to support economic development and community access in northwestern Ontario.
The government of Canada and the province of Ontario will each invest $393,814 to enable the Webequie First Nation, in partnership with the First Nations of Eabametoong, Neskantaga, and Nibinik, to complete a study on a regional community service corridor. The study will examine the benefits of developing an all-season transportation corridor connecting First Nation communities in the area with existing roadways, in order to capitalize on opportunities related to resource development in the region, including in the Ring of Fire, 540 km northeast of Thunder Bay.
In a further announcement on the second day of the mining conference, the provincial government said it plans to renew its 2006 Mineral Development Strategy, with fresh input from stakeholders. Over the next three months, the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines will host workshops across Ontario to provide industry, Aboriginal communities, and other community partners the opportunity to respond to the proposed themes for a renewed MDS and set priorities to strengthen the sector.
The Northern Miner caught up with Gravelle on the sidelines of the conference.
TNM: The Fraser Institute recently ranked Ontario 23rd internationally in terms of its Attractiveness Index, a drop of nine spots from a year ago, and in the same category the province ranked ninth in Canada, after British Columbia, Nunavut and Nova Scotia. How do you explain Ontario’s drop in the rankings of the survey, and what should the province be doing to improve before the survey next year?
Gravelle: We understand that the Fraser Institute is an opinion survey, and I appreciate that, but what I have been saying and will continue to say, is that we need to look at the facts in terms of Ontario being an extremely attractive jurisdiction in terms of mineral investment, and the facts are, that in 2014, our mineral exploration dollars were over $500 million. When one goes back to 2003, I think it was somewhere just below $200 million in exploration dollars being spent.
It’s number one in the country, in terms of mineral exploration. I think 26% of all mineral exploration in Canada is happening in Ontario. When one looks at the actual production of our minerals, we were above $11 billion dollars in 2014.
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