Mining can help dig Ontario out of debt

This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.

Ontario’s growing mineral industry can offer hope and opportunity to individuals and also assistance to government with its deficit problem.  This was the message in a letter sent from Ontario Mining Association President Chris Hodgson to Ontario Finance Minister Dwight Duncan as part of a pre-budget submission. 

“Mining holds the potential to quite literally help dig Ontario out of debt,” said Mr. Hodgson.  “As the province faces a deficit of $16 billion this year, mining can be a partner in economic growth – growing jobs and growing government revenues.” 

“In the province, today, mining is a $10 billion per year business, which employs about 27,000 people directly,” he added.  “Canada’s mining industry is poised to make up to $140 billion in new investments in the next five years, with much of it in Ontario.  What sectors of the economy are matching this level of activity on the capital spending front?”

“While mining is doing relatively well at the moment, it could be doing better and play a larger role in the provincial economy,” said Mr. Hodgson.  In his letter, he offered several suggestions to help mining take advantage of the 20-year window of opportunity, which currently exists in global commodity markets.

The OMA has encouraged further support of the Ontario Geological Survey to carry out increased levels of mapping and geological assessment as the foundation of this industry, which benefits all Ontarians.  “Investments in improving our knowledge of what is beneath our feet can pay dividends for society in the future.”

Though the government has taken action to improve companies’ ability to better manage, control and conserve energy costs, the OMA has recommended extending the Northern Industrial Electricity Program and lowering the Global Adjustment threshold.

The OMA supports greater investment in basic education and skills development among First Nations in Ontario.  Also, mining companies in Ontario pay all the taxes and fees paid by other sectors but on top of that, they also pay the Ontario Mining Tax, a profit based royalty.  The OMA supports revenue sharing of a portion of the existing Ontario Mining Tax revenues with communities and First Nations, which host mine projects and mining employees.

Mining companies in Ontario are building up an excellent track record of solution providing environmental responsibility.  Continuous improvement is being made both in the science and engineering of environmental protection and corporate commitment to it.  With this in mind, the OMA has requested clarification of the Qualified Environmental Trusts as a tool for companies to meet financial assurance and mine rehabilitation requirements.

“Mining continues to be an economic pillar of our province and an industry in which all of Ontario can take pride.  Canada and Ontario excel internationally in mining,” added Mr. Hodgson.  “It is well positioned to grow its contribution to the economy and we appreciate the opportunity to share recommendations to meet that goal.”

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