Ontario legislative building Toronto

Ontario Legislative Building in Toronto. Stock image.

The government of Canada’s Ontario province has introduced legislation to amend the Mining Act that will, if passed, attract more investment in the province’s mining sector while strengthening the province’s critical minerals supply chains for batteries and electric vehicles.

In 2021, Ontario produced over C$11.1 billion ($8.1bn) worth of minerals, accounting for 20% of Canada’s total mineral production and approximately C$3.1 billion ($2.2bn) worth of critical minerals.

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The Ontario government released its Critical Minerals Strategy last year, a five-year plan that includes addressing regulatory challenges to get mines built more efficiently.

If passed, the Building More Mines Act, 2023 could advance critical minerals projects by making it easier for companies to get a permit to recover minerals from mine tailings and waste; improve closure planning by having more qualified professionals available to certify plans; allow more flexibility in the techniques used to rehabilitate mines once they are closed and create more options for companies to pay financial assurance.

“It shouldn’t take 15 years to open a mine. This process is too time consuming and costly, leading to project delays and lost opportunities for Ontario’s mineral exploration and mining sector,” George Pirie, Minister of Mines said in the statement.

“We need to get building. That’s why our government is introducing changes to the Mining Act to help attract more investment and secure the critical minerals that support the made-in-Ontario supply chain for new technologies like batteries and electric vehicles.”

These changes, the government said, would benefit the entire minerals sector and advance Ontario’s plan to build an integrated supply chain by connecting mineral producers in the north, including those in the Ring of Fire, with the manufacturing sector in the south.

Ontario’s Ring of Fire region has multi-generational potential for critical minerals production including chromite, nickel, copper and platinum needed for clean steel and electric vehicle manufacturing.

The modifications to the Mining Act would increase certainty for business planning and generate investment in Northern Ontario to provide significant economic development opportunities for northern and Indigenous communities.

All amendments, it said, will maintain standards for environmental protection and meet the duty to consult with Indigenous communities.

The proposed package of legislative amendments is posted on the Environmental Registry of Ontario and is open for public comment until April 16.

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