Editorial: Ontario gov’t criticized by Auditor General over Ring of Fire file – by John Cumming (Northern Miner – December 21, 2015)

http://www.northernminer.com/

With the Auditor General of Ontario Bonnie Lysyk newly releasing her Annual Report 2015, it’s been the Ontario government’s mismanagement of the province’s electricity generation system that has grabbed the biggest headlines across the country, but she also has a fair amount of criticism in the report on how the government has overseen mining and mineral investment in Ontario, particularly with respect to the Ring of Fire chromite camp.

Lysyk notes Ontario is Canada’s largest mineral producer, accounting for a quarter of all Canadian production, and has one of the lowest tax rates for miners, and yet the Fraser Institute’s survey of mining and exploration companies ranks Ontario ninth among Canadian provinces and territories in investment attractiveness for mineral exploration.

Some of her criticism isn’t too surprising, and reflects the problems of any large bureaucracy such as Ontario’s Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, which has an annual budget of $41 million and 270 full-time employees.

She found the ministry doesn’t adequately assess the effectiveness of its investment marketing activities; has inadequate plans for dealing with abandoned mine sites and upcoming mine closures; is a little slow to complete programs and disseminate geoscience information to the public; may have undercollected the amount of bonds or equivalents needed for mine closure; and taken in too little in taxes, highlighted by collecting less than $20 million in royalties from De Beers’ Victor diamond mine from 2008–14, a period when the mine generated $2.5-billion worth of diamonds.

For the Ring of Fire (ROF), the government established the ROF Secretariat in 2010 to work and consult with Aboriginal Peoples, northern Ontarians and the mining community to encourage sustainable development. Today, the secretariat has 19 full-time staff in offices in Sudbury, Thunder Bay and Toronto.

For the rest of this editorial, click here: http://www.northernminer.com/news/editorial-ontario-govt-criticized-by-auditor-general-over-ring-of-fire-file/1003739970/

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