Stephen Roman needs no reminder that Ontario is lagging behind the rest of Canada in wait times for approval of mining exploration permits.
“The permitting process is very slow, very cumbersome and you need a lot of money,” states the chairman and president-CEO of Harte Gold, a junior miner that’s advancing its Sugar Zone deposit in the Hemlo gold fields toward commercial production this year.
Roman was responding to a report by the Fraser Institute which labelled Ontario a “laggard” for the time it takes to approve mining exploration permits. The think-tank’s survey of mining executives indicates Ontario has work to do to restore the confidence of the industry when it comes to expediting permit approvals and providing greater transparency and certainty in the overall permitting process.
Twenty-five per cent of respondents believed approval times had lengthened “considerably” in Ontario in the last 10 years, with an additional 43 per cent answering it had increased “somewhat.”
Saskatchewan remains the industry’s favourite. Respondents gave the province a strong approval rating with 87 per cent indicating they received the permits within six months or less.
Ontario finished at 64 per cent.
Compared to two decades ago, Roman finds the current permitting process to be a “much tougher” regime and it requires more permits amid more layers of bureaucracy, which translates to more “time, money and frustration.”
After blasting a ramp down to the deposit last fall, the company is in the initial phase of production to excavate 70,000 tonnes of ore which is expected to net 25,000 ounces of gold.
Obtaining a permit to take the bulk sample from the Sugar Zone was a three-year process, he said.
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