The Renaissance of Mining in British Columbia – by Pierre Gratton

This speech was given by Pierre Gratton, President & CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC), at the Vancouver Board of Trade Lunch on May 12, 2010.

“The Northwest Territories, where there are three major diamond mines, in the last 12 years have generated $600 million in Aboriginal business revenues, increased Aboriginal secondary school enrollment from 36 to 56 percent and reduced Aboriginal recipients on social assistance by 50 percent.” – Pierre Gratton, MABC President and CEO

“Whereas many industry sectors do not see aboriginal people as a workforce, consumers or partners, the mining sector has been on the leading edge of aboriginal inclusion efforts in employment, partnerships and business development for thirty five years.”  Kelly Lendsay, President and CEO of the Aboriginal Human Resources Council

The Renaissance of Mining in British Columbia

Good afternoon.

Before I begin, I would like to acknowledge the Coast Salish First Nations whose traditional territory we are on today, and to thank the Vancouver Board of Trade for providing the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) with this opportunity to discuss the state of our province’s mining industry.

I wish to also thank my colleagues on the executive committee, board of directors and staff at MABC, who work tirelessly on behalf of the mining industry, along with friends and colleagues at AME BC and the Mining Suppliers Association of BC. Special thanks go to members of the Mining Week Committee for their hard work planning and organizing this week’s events.

Mining Week, a tradition for the past 103 years, celebrates the role this industry plays in making British Columbia a great place to live, work and play. This year we’ve partnered with the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum and its annual conference to reach out to a broader industry and public audience. We’ve also expanded our activities, with events taking place in many communities across the province.

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The Ring of Fire: Will Fingers Be Burnt? – by Michael Schwartz

This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of the Ontario Prospector which is published by the Ontario Prospectors Association.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

“There is no doubt that the Ring of Fire brings both enormous promise as well as enormous challenges for all. The enormity of the discoveries within the Ring of Fire could bring multi-generational community benefits if the regulatory roadmap is clear, if enabling mechanisms for community participation and partnership are created by government, and if industry brings their best practices forward.” – Mike Fox, Co-Chair of the PDAC Aboriginal Affairs Committee and President of Boreal Prospectors Association

On April 8, 2010, about 150 hungry people gathered at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay to share a meal and explore opportunities at The Far North Feast. The venue was Thunder Bay, chosen because of its proximity to the Ring of Fire, a massive mineral deposit offering both benefits and challenges to exploration and mining companies, government at all levels, environmental agencies and, most crucially in the long-term, First Nations citizens in the vicinity.

Chairman of this year’s feast was Mike Fox, coincidentally both president of the Boreal Prospectors Association and co-chair of the Aboriginal Affairs Committee for the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC). He explains the purpose of the feast: “The overall intention is to highlight opportunities for progress and collaboration… Our aim is to show that the players are collaborating with the community, the province and its ministry, creating an enabling environment for others in the future.”

Recognising just how diverse and complex the situation is, the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry has  established a new position of Excutive Lead,  Ring of Fire Secretariat to develop the strategic vision and framework to facilitate the successful development of the Ring of Fire initiative and partner with other ministries to develop creative solutions that meet the interests of northern Ontarians, Aboriginal communities and the mining industry, while achieving government business objectives.

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“Ontario’s Mining Act” and the Importance of Exploration to the Future Prosperity of the Province – by R. S. Middleton (October/2008)

This letter was sent to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines in October/2008. The letter provides interesting background information on Ontario’s mineral exploration sector. R. S. Middleton is a well-known and respected geophysicist who has been involved with many mining projects around the world and in Canada over the past 40 years.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery


Meetings on changes to the Mining Act in Ontario were held on August 11, 13, 18, and September 8th, 2008 in Timmins, Sudbury, Thunder Bay, Kingston and Toronto. The timing was particularly unfortunate since exploration people are always away in the field during the summer months so they were unable to take part or comment on the  proposed changes to the Act. This suggests either that the government has a poor understanding of the industry or that it has deliberately set in train a process to carry out its plans without proper consultation with the industry. Changing an Act of Parliament with only a three week review period is completely unacceptable in any parliamentary democracy.

Those of us away on field work have been unaware of any of the discussions and proposals that have taken place and consider that they have not been properly consulted.

Moreover holding hearings in a small number of towns over such a short time frame, will not elicit the input that is required from the industry.  Why was Ottawa not included in the hearings?  There are more exploration mining companies based in Ottawa than in Thunder Bay.

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Ring of Fire: Ontario Embarking on a Major Economic Development Project – by Geophysicist R.S. Middleton, P.Eng.

Map Courtesy KWG Resources Inc.This article originally appeared in the Fall/Winter 2010 issue of the Ontario Prospector which is published by the Ontario Prospectors Association.

R. S. Middleton is a well-known and respected geophysicist who has been involved with many mining projects around the world and in Canada over the past 40 years.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

A New Chromite Industry for North America

Ontario has been blessed in that a number of world class mineral discoveries have been made over the past 125 years which has brought wealth and prosperity to its citizens and Canada.  These discoveries have sustained thousands of support industries that have manufactured and supplied the implements to extract the metals, industrial minerals and gemstones that form the Mining Industry of Ontario.  Revenues from these mining operations make up approximately 30% of government tax revenue and were the foundation and beginning of the financial industry based in Toronto.

The discovery of the Sudbury nickel-copper-cobalt-PGE (Platinum Group Element) deposits at the end of the 19th century are the largest contributor of revenue with a gross metal value of over $190 billion.  The multitude of silver mines found in 1903 in Cobalt, Ontario generated millions of ounces of silver with by-product cobalt, arsenic, nickel and bismuth and became the strength of the Toronto Stock Exchange in the early 1900’s.  By 1909 prospectors operating from the Cobalt Camp found the famous Porcupine Gold Camp (Timmins) which has now produced over 70 million ounces of gold from 100 years of production.

Prospectors from both Timmins and Cobalt then found the Kirkland Lake – Larder Lake gold mines and the Noranda Camp in Quebec.  Also from Timmins the Kidd Creek copper-zinc-silver mine (1963) with a gross metal value reaching $75 billion, the Kamiskotia (1915), Detour gold (1974) and Hemlo (1979) camps were found.  Geraldton-Beardmore and the Red Lake gold camps were developed in the 1920’s-1930’s in part with the financial base built by Timmins.

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Ontario Significantly Declines in Global Mine Rankings – Ian Ross

Established in 1980, Northern Ontario Business  provides Canadians and international investors with relevant, current and insightful editorial content and business news information about Ontario’s vibrant and resource-rich North. This article was published in the October, 2010 issue.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

Uncertainty in regulations and land tenure worries miners

Ontario may promote itself as being among the best mining jurisdictions in the world, but some industry executives polled in a Fraser Institute survey are second-guessing that blanket statement. A special mid-year report penned by researchers Fred McMahon and Miguel Cervantes raises some red flag issues for investment.

Confidence in Ontario continues to sag due to respondents’ concerns over government policy, dealings with First Nations, and uncertainty over whether a big chunk of Ontario’s untapped mineral resource will be set aside for protection.

“Mining is a long-term endeavor,” said Fred McMahon, vice-president of the Vancouver-based international public policy think tank. “That kind of instability is very damaging.”

Some mining companies accused the McGuinty government of trying to
“kill Ontario” and hinted that antimining environmental activist groups
have considerable weight in shaping public policy.

As commodity prices improve, Mc-Mahon said governments, unions and non-government organizations are finding mining an easy target to tear up existing agreements, drive up costs, and introduce “predatory taxes” that cause instability in investment.

McMahon said these dramatic changes in recent months prompted the Fraser Institute to release its firstever mid-year report card in August.

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Prospectors Oppose Far North Act (Bill 191) – More Northern Consultation Needed – by Frank P. Tagliamonte

Frank P. Tagliamonte is a North Bay-based geologist and prospector.

For an extensive list of articles on this mineral discovery, please go to: Ontario’s Ring of Fire Mineral Discovery

The McGuinty government has recently passed legislation, the Far North Act – Bill 191, that will be detrimental for all the citizens of Ontario, especially the North.

Briefly , this act has been initiated and promoted by an environmental lobby group and embraced by the McGuinty government without meaningful consultation with First Nations and the citizens of Ontario, particularly Northerners. It has been rejected by most mayors of Northern Ontario communities and when its impact is fully understood , will likely be opposed by cities and towns in the South as well.

This Act will prohibit all natural resource development, mining, timbering and hydro projects,  in a vast land mass comprising some 250,000 acres in Northern Ontario – not Southern Ontario.

Can Ontario realistically abandon potentially rich and vast resource areas that will provide employment, especially for First Nation communities, mineral riches and abundant tax revenues to a deeply indebted Province?

This land mass overlies the mineral-rich Canadian Shield with the potential to host world-class mining camps such as Timmins, Kirkland Lake, Sudbury and Red Lake.

Already a diamond mine is in production, producing world-quality diamonds within the soon to be “off-limits area.” Rich deposits of chromite, copper and nickel have recently been discovered in a small part of this vast area known as the Ring of Fire – one of the most important new mining camps in Canada. There is enormous potential for many more discoveries in the years ahead.

Can Ontario realistically abandon potentially rich and vast resource areas that will provide employment, especially for First Nation communities, mineral riches and abundant tax revenues to a deeply indebted Province? 

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[Ontario Far North Act] Canada’s Worst Government – by Terence Corcoran (National Post-October 16, 2009)

 Terence Corcoran is the Financial Post editor, the business sector of the  National Post, Canada’s second largest national paper. This article was originally published on October 16, 2009.

Every now and then a province falls into the hands of blundering politicians so inept that their government ends up deserving of the title “Canada’s Worst Government.” It’s a rare award.  At any time somebody has to be the worst, but no award for routine bottom-of-the-barrel performance seems necessary.  Occasionally, however, the metric of incompetence is so large and conspicuous it demands special recognition.  The Liberal regime of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, now slipping into deep deficits that are likely to exceed $30-billion over two years and continue into the future, has hit the tipping point and triggered its candidacy as Canada’s Worst Government.

The new deficit outlook, announced yesterday and to be documented in a fiscal statement next week, comes in the wake of Ontario’s $1-billion eHealth fiasco. That followed the province’s Green Energy Act, a plan to force electricity users to pay 80 cents for a kilowatt hour of solar power and subsidize scores of industrial rent seekers. The province is also a leading promoter of endless nanny state rules and regulations that serve no purpose except to give the premier an opportunity to issue a statement and deliver one of his patented sanctimonious speeches.

Far North Act

 Below the radar of media attention, there is more. This is about one of those so-far unrecognized bits of McGuinty Liberal bungling. Next week, the Ontario legislature will begin taking another look at two monster pieces of legislation allegedly aimed at bringing new order to the province’s shambling mining legislation. First is Bill 173, the Mining Amendment Act, which among other things is an attempt to bring Aboriginal communities into the administration of the province’s scatter-brained mining laws. Second is Bill 191, the Far North Act. It also attempts to bring Aboriginal participaton into decision-making over resource development of Ontario’s far north. What these two bills actually do, however, is trample on everybody’s property rights, from First Nation rights to the rights of cottage owners caught in the murky legislation that sets out mineral rights across the province.

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Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) News Release – PDAC Supports NAN’s Campaign Against Ontario Bill 191 – September 15, 2010

Toronto, Ontario, September 15, 2010 – The Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) is supporting Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s (NAN) opposition to Bill 191, the Far North Act.

Bill 191 would give legal effect to the Ontario government’s plans for the northern boreal region. Without adequate consultation or consideration of the implications for First Nations communities, the mineral industry or northern municipalities, the provincial government proposes to permanently remove more than 50% of the Far North boreal region of Ontario from the possibility of sustainable economic development through the creation of an interconnected network of protected areas.

The negative implications of Bill 191 will be felt by First Nations communities that make up 90% of the population of the Far North and will deprive First Nations of the benefits that responsible mineral resource development can provide.

NAN has expressed the need for First Nations to have meaningful participation in land use decisions in the Far North, which Bill 191 does not provide, and has asked the McGuinty government to scrap the legislation altogether.

The PDAC agrees that Bill 191 should be stopped and hopes that the Ontario government will recognize the serious flaws with the legislation.

“Mineral exploration and development serves an important role in creating opportunity for northern Ontario’s First Nations and municipalities,” said Scott Jobin-Bevans, PDAC President, “The PDAC is encouraging its members to sign the Nishnawbe Aski Nation petition.”

The NAN petition is available at

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Assembly of First Nations News Release – AFN Supports Nishnawbe Aski Nation’s Call to Withdraw Ontario’s Far North Act – September 10, 2010

OTTAWA, Sept. 10 /CNW/ – Assembly of First Nations National Chief Shawn A-in-chut Atleo and Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse today confirmed their support for Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Chiefs in their call to the Ontario government to withdraw the Far North Act (Bill 191).

“Consistent with our rights, the treaties and the United Nations Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, First Nations must be fully and meaningfully engaged in all aspects relating to development in our territories,” said AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo. “The Ontario government’s approach to the proposed Far North Act is inconsistent with First Nation rights and the treaties and furthermore does not adequately fulfill the government’s duty to consult.  Especially in regions like Northern Ontario where First Nations peoples make up 90 per cent of the population, it is absolutely essential that we get this right.  The path forward must be one of full respect and engagement.”

Bill 191 proposes to protect about 225,000 square kilometers of Boreal Forest and was developed without input from the more than 24,000 First Nations peoples who inhabit over 30 First Nation communities in the area. 

The implications of Bill 191 will go beyond the proposed protected area and will directly impact the Aboriginal and treaty rights of all 49 NAN First Nation communities, signatories to Treaty No. 9 and Treaty No. 5 and First Nations across the country.

“In a time when the Ontario government is working toward a ‘new relationship’ with First Nations in the province, we should be working together to protect the environment and balancing sustainable economic development opportunities,” said AFN Ontario Regional Chief Angus Toulouse.  “Instead, Ontario has unilaterally introduced this legislation which would leave control over land-use planning to the government even when many First Nation communities within Treaty No. 9 and Treaty No. 5 have developed their own land-use plans and have repeatedly expressed the need to be involved in the process.”

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Ontario Mining Association (OMA) – August 2009 Submission to the Ontario Government on the Far North Act (Bill 191) and the Mining Act (Bill 173)

The Ontario Mining Association (OMA), is an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Please note that the order of this document has been slightly changed. The Bill 191, the Far North Act material has been placed at the beginning of the posting for the reader’s convenience. – Stan Sudol

Bill 191, the Far North Act

1. Clarifying the Ambiguity and Imbalance

Once again, we are appreciative of the government’s efforts to foster a multi-stakeholder dialogue and build consensus through the Far North Advisory Council. We also agree with the goal “to strike the right balance between conservation and development”, which was set out in the Premier’s July 14, 2008 announcement.

However, Bill 191 presents many challenges for our members, which if not rectified, will cause unprecedented delay, unnecessary conflicts and diminishing economic benefits for the province and communities of the Far North. The nature of the mining industry is one that requires long-term certainty and clarity – given the long planning cycles of our industry, as well as the significant capital expenditures and detailed permitting process required for the development of a mine. Additionally, mineral exploration is a highly risky undertaking; only 1 in 10,000 prospects becomes a mine. 

Industry would appreciate greater balance between industry, community and conservation components in various aspects of Bill 191 so that the Bill achieves the desired goal of economic development and conservation. Without this balance, Bill 191 may be seen as an impediment to future investment and development in Ontario’s Far North for mineral exploration and mine development, forcing companies to look elsewhere for mineral development projects. 

While the proposed legislation is a start in putting a process in place to ensure partnership building between government and Aboriginal peoples, it has not provided a specific role for other stakeholders, such as the mineral industry. Given the importance of  mineral development to the economic development and prosperity of the Far North and its people, it is critical that the mineral industry have a seat at the table.

The OMA supports active participation of Aboriginal peoples in the mineral industry and understanding and co-operation between the industry and Aboriginal communities where mineral development and extraction occur. The members of the OMA have collectively more than 50 agreements with the First Nations.

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NDP News Release – NDP stands with First Nations, votes against [Far North Act] Bill 191 – September 23, 2010

QUEEN’S PARK – The McGuinty Liberals’ decision to ram the Far North Act through the Legislature today is a big step backwards for relations between First Nations and the provincial government, say NDP Leader Andrea Horwath and NDP Aboriginal Affairs Critic Gilles Bisson. “The Premier went back on his pledge to First Nations leaders that …

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Ontario Prospectors Association of Ontario News Release – ONTARIO PROSPECTORS DISAPPOINTED BILL 191 PASSES THIRD READING – September 30, 2010

The objectives of the Ontario Prospectors Association are to represent and further the interests of the mineral exploration industry and the interests of prospectors. Our mission is to enhance and promote the Ontario mineral exploration and development community to foster a healthy mining industry.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: The Board of Directors of the Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA) regrets that Bill 191, the Far North Act, was passed after the third reading by the Ontario Legislature.

The OPA believes the present form of the Far North Act will cripple exploration and related economic development in Ontario’s Boreal Forest lands, an area recently demonstrated once again to hold vast mineral deposits within the “Ring of Fire” chromite (stainless steel) and copper, nickel and platinum group element (automobile pollution control) discoveries. While the timing of the discovery and onset of development of the Ring of Fire has fortunately preceded royal proclamation of the Far North Act, future capital investment will not freely flow into the legal limbo created by Far North Act in its current form.

The OPA applauds the Far North Act’s recognition and support for Community-based Land Use Planning amongst the region’s First Nation communities. However, advance selection of a 50% (225,000sq km) protection target under the Far North Act’s proposed grid of “interconnected” waterway parks and protected spaces will ensure a 100% loss of potential for future discoveries and related economic development in this vast area of high mineral potential.

Exploration and mining in Ontario’s north have historically been mainstays of the economies of both northern and southern Ontario. The Far North Act in its present form represents a potential loss of economic opportunity.

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WWF News Release – World Wildlife Fund Supports Ontario’s Amended Far North Act (Bill 191) September 15, 2010

Gerald is President and CEO of WWF-Canada, the country’s largest environmental organization. Prior to joining WWF, Gerald was Principal Secretary to Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty where he worked directly with the Premier, Cabinet and Public Service to develop, implement and communicate the government’s agenda. He was intimately involved in all of the government’s significant environmental initiatives, from the Greenbelt and Boreal Conservation plan to the coal phase-out and toxic reduction strategy.

WWF-Canada hopes the Ontario Legislature will pass amended Far North Act Today WWF-Canada indicated that it hopes the Ontario Legislature will soon pass an amended Act with respect to land use planning and protection in the Far North.

The legislation was introduced in June 2009 to implement a vision announced by Premier McGuinty a year earlier for the boreal region occupying 42 per cent of the province. The Premier’s vision involves protecting at least half of the area, while encouraging new economic development. Both objectives are to be accomplished through community land use plans led by First Nations.

“We felt the conservation objectives were secure in the proposed legislation, but it needed to be improved to recognize greater control of the planning process by First Nations,” said Monte Hummel, President Emeritus of WWF-Canada. “Therefore, we have strongly supported First Nations concerns, through our testimony before the Standing Committee, through many meetings with both government and First Nations leaders, and through our recommendations for specific changes to the Act.”

The 49 pages of amendments introduced this week by Linda Jeffrey, Minister of Natural Resources, will go a long way to ensuring that First Nations have an equal say in planning. Of particular importance is the introduction in Section 6 of a joint planning body with equal representation from the Province and First Nations to oversee the planning process, to advise on funding, and to determine a dispute resolution mechanism. Such a joint body was recommended by the Far North Advisory Council in their March, 2009 report, including representatives from the mining, prospecting, water power and forest industries, as well as environmental groups. In addition, WWF emphasized the importance of $16 million in new provincial funding to flow directly to First Nations engaged in land use planning.

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Tim Hudak’s Bad Idea – Toronto Star August 16, 2010 Editorial Comment on PC Leader Tim Hudak’s Promise to Repeal Far North Act

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on Canada’s federal and provincial politics as well as shaping public opinion. This editorial was originally published on August 16, 2010. Toronto Star Editorial: Trolling for votes in northern Ontario last week, provincial Conservative Leader Tim Hudak promised to repeal the Far …

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PC Party Critic for MNDMF News Release – Dalton McGuinty Perpetrates Largest Land Swindle in Canada’s History – September 23, 2010

(QUEEN’S PARK) Minutes ago, in a vote of 46 to 26, the Dalton McGuinty Liberals completed their headlong rush to pass Bill 191 through the legislature with as little consultation as possible. The bill remained almost unchanged from its introduction, a stunning testament to a government that has completely abandoned its Northern Constituents.

“This is a sad day for Northern Ontario. Despite the outcry from Northern Ontario, it has fallen upon deaf ears,” said Randy Hillier, PC Party Critic for Northern Development, Mines and Forestry. “Dalton McGuinty has given away 42% of this province away to environmentalist friends in downtown Toronto. He’s stolen it, and Northerners didn’t get a penny in return.”

Bill 191 will ban all development in 42% of Ontario, an area of 225,000 km2. Because the bill makes no stipulations on which land is specifically off limits, the resulting uncertainty will undoubtedly play havoc with any new investments in Northern Ontario.

Widely derided by Northern Aboriginal, Industry and Municipal groups, the bill has been endorsed by Monte Hummel of the World Wildlife fund. In fact, the WWF was the only group consulted prior to the bill’s introduction.

“This is Dalton McGuinty’s idea of ‘balance’,” said Hillier. “It’s a devastating assault on the economy of the North at a time when it is already fragile. It’s proof that McGuinty has completely lost touch with those who elected him.”

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