Remarks at 2011 “Meet the Miners Reception” – by the Honourable Michael Gravelle Minister of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry (March 28, 2011)

Meet the Miners is an Ontario Mining Association (OMA) initiative at Queen’s Park involving member companies and their employees, which helps shine the spotlight on the industry in government circles.

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Meet the Miners is an OMA initiative at Queen’s Park involving member companies and their employees, which helps shine the spotlight on the industry in government circles.Thank you, Chris, for that kind introduction. Welcome, everyone. It is my pleasure to co-host the annual “Meet the Miners” reception once again. First of all, I want to thank you for being flexible and having “Meet the Miners” day today.

Although the provincial budget presentation scheduled for tomorrow necessitated a change in plans and venues for the OMA, I hope that your meetings today were both productive and enjoyable. I am certainly delighted to join you and my legislative colleagues here this evening.

One has to look no further then to the numbers to understand that Mining is  and will remain a major contributor to Ontario’s economy:

  • In 2010, our mineral production was valued at $7.7 billion. And during the same year, mining companies reinvested more than a billion dollars into ongoing operations and new mine development.
  • In 2010, Mining and exploration companies spent over $800 million on exploring and evaluating mineral deposits throughout the province. And this year, we are going for another record – $940 million!
  • As well, close to 30 per cent of all investment in mineral exploration in Canada is taking place in Ontario. With over 300 companies actively exploring more than 600 projects.

As we went through the recent economic downturn, I was always optimistic that Ontario’s minerals industry would not only survive challenging times but bounce back stronger than ever. Your resilience in tough economic times is a testament to that – I thank you all for your commitment to this very important sector!

The evidence of the very positive state of mining in Ontario does not end with the numbers.  There are many good news stories that show that Ontario is one of the best places in the world for mining!

Some of the current mining projects include:

  • The very successful De Beers diamond mine near Attawapiskat;
  • The Detour Lake gold mine project near Cochrane;
  • Vale’s newest investment, the Totten Mine in Sudbury;
  • Quadra FNX Mining’s operations and extensive exploration work in the Sudbury area;
  • Xstrata’s operations in Sudbury and Timmins;
  • First Nickel, who are in the midst of extensive on-site exploration at their Sudbury mine;
  • Sifto, who operate the world’s largest underground salt mine in Goderich;
  • Northgate’s, Young Davidson mine near Kirkland Lake, which is set to go into production next year;
  • Barrick Gold, the world’s largest international gold producer, who have a small number of grassroots exploration projects throughout Ontario.
  • Osisko, who are owners and operators of the Hammond Reef Gold project NE of Atikokan, and have several grassroots gold exploration projects throughout Ontario;
  • Lake Shore Gold’s Timmins gold mine, which commenced production this year;
  • Goldcorp, an Ontario homegrown success story, who have operations in Red Lake and Timmins;
  • North American Palladium’s Lac Des Iles operation NW of Thunder Bay;
  • And although we are still in the early stages with the Ring of Fire, this is an incredible economic opportunity – and we have many companies busy working in that area.

With reports and progress like this, it is very clear that the mining community is obviously not only rejuvenated, it is forging ahead with renewed confidence.

As well, I certainly don’t want to leave out the very important mining supply and services sector – without you this success would not be possible.

And with Mining Act Modernization well underway, new regulations are being developed and implemented that will help provide even more opportunity for growth and prosperity in the minerals sector.

I conclude my remarks this evening by sincerely thanking the Ontario Mining Association.

For over 90 years, the OMA has made a positive difference lobbying for change on behalf of your members, and motivating Ontario’s youth to consider careers in this exciting industry.

Ontario is a better place because of your vision and innovation. Through the efforts of the OMA and your members, our minerals industry holds tremendous promise for the future of all Ontarians.

Thank you!

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