[Ontario] Boost mines sector: Report – by Carol Mulligan (Sudbury Star – December 1, 2015)

The Sudbury Star is the City of Greater Sudbury’s daily newspaper.

The global mining industry is in a down cycle, with prices for nickel and other minerals at their lowest in as much as a decade.

Despite that, Ontario is in a competitive position to emerge stronger when the demand for metals picks up again, says the Ontario Chamber of Commerce in a report being released today.

But it can only do that if federal, provincial and municipal governments, and aboriginal communities work together to move mining projects forward.

The Ontario chamber makes nine recommendations in a report called Digging Deeper: Strengthening Ontario’s Mining Advantage.In it, the chamber urges the province to invest in northern infrastructure, clarify the consultation process between First Nations and mining companies, and develop a resource revenue sharing framework for aboriginal communities.

Allan O’Dette, president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, said Monday it is critically important Ontario act on those recommendations now, not later.

The OCC timed the release of the 27-page report just before the province is expected to present an updated mineral development strategy before the end of the year.

The Ministry of Northern Development and Mines held consultations earlier this year, seeking comment for the renewed strategy.

The first recommendation in the OCC report calls on the province to boost investment in northern infrastructure and co-ordinate infrastructure planning with mining, aboriginal and northern interests. It also calls on the province to broaden the mandate of the Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation “to seek out these opportunities.”

O’Dette said he talked with Northern Development and Mines Minister Michael Gravelle on Monday and the minister disagreed with that first recommendation. Gravelle wants the development corporation to remain focused “and not make it any more complicated,” said O’Dette.

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