The iron might not be exactly hot in the mining world right now — and the Ring of Fire has scarcely been kindled — but industry champions still feel it’s an opportune time for policymakers to strike.
“Globally, the mining sector is obviously in a bit of a downturn,” said Scott Boutilier, senior policy analyst with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “From an Ontario perspective, though, there are a lot of things we can be doing right now to position the industry for greater success in the future.”
Boutilier was in Sudbury on Thursday to kick off a panel discussion at Dynamic Earth on “strengthening Ontario’s mining advantage.”
That was the theme of a report Boutilier authored last year for the chamber titled Digging Deeper, which has since been circulated among media, industry stakeholders and government circles.
Boutilier said the round table in Sudbury was one of several organized by the chamber of commerce to reiterate points raised in the paper and create more dialogue on mining issues.
“We released the report in December, and wanted to keep the conversation going,” he said. “The province released its own Mineral Development Strategy a couple of weeks later. So we just wanted to make sure the mining sector remained on the radar into the new year.”
One of the main recommendations of the chamber report is for the province to pump more money into infrastructure in the North and to better coordinate how access to mineral troves is planned among miners, First Nations and local interests.
The latter could be partially accomplished, the report argues, by broadening the mandate of the Ring of Fire Infrastructure Development Corporation “to seek out these opportunities.”
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