The province is getting in the way of new mines: Study – by Jonathan Migneault (Sudbury Northern Life – January 27, 2016)

Familiar regulatory barriers hampering nine mining projects in northwest

Exorbitant hydro rates, a myopic First Nations consultation process and an onerous environmental review system — a familiar trio of regulatory barriers — are hampering the development of new mines in northwestern Ontario, a new report says.

Regulatory barriers have halted the development of nine mines in northwestern Ontario since 2010, say the authors of a new report from the Northern Policy Institute.

Those nine proposed mining projects, which include Noront Resources’ Eagle’s Nest and Black Thor projects in the Ring of Fire, and Treasury Metals’ Goliath Gold project, had the potential to create 23,000 jobs and generate an estimated $135.4 billion in wealth, says the mining industry report.

“As of today, none of them have started production,” said Karl Skogstad, an economics professor at Lakehead University, and one of the report’s authors.

Rubicon Minerals Corporation’s Phoenix Gold project made the list of nine mining projects, and while it was completed, turned out to be disastrous for the company.

In 2013, Rubicon estimated the deposit contained around 3.3 million ounces of gold, but it turned out to be closer to 413,000 ounces in more recent estimates.

The company suspended underground work on the project in November 2015.

Construction has started on two other projects in the list – Goldcorp’s Cochenour/Bruce Channel Mine and New Gold’s Rainy River Gold Project – but both have not yet started production.

Skogstad acknowledged a slump in commodity prices has impacted the current economic viability of many of the projects, but added other factors prevented their development when mineral prices were higher.

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