Although the addition of even one mine can bring substantial benefits to society (read more about this), the wins do not come quickly or easily. It takes a great deal of will, effort and time to discover a viable ore deposit and bring it into production.
There is no way of predicting where profitable ore deposits will be found. Each prospector, explorationist and investor may fervently hope for the next "big find" but only about one mineral exploration project in ten is taken to the drill stage, and one drill program in 1000 finds a viable mineral deposit; hence, less than one project in 10,000 becomes a mine. It typically takes ten to fifteen years of exploration, data analysis, planning and financing to bring a mine into production.
Ultimately, mining leaves a very small footprint. All past and present mining operations in Ontario occupy 500 square kilometres - only about 0.05% of Ontario's total land area. Moreover, every stage of the mining process is governed by comprehensive regulations including: the Mining Act of Ontario, the Environmental Assessment Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Public Lands Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Act. In total, there are twelve provincial and federal ministries involved in regulating mining and exploration activities. A stringent regulatory environment, combined with the industry's committment to responsible practices and proactive approach to using new technologies, ensures that public health, public safety and the environment are protected.
People need the products of mining and Ontario, with it's world class safety record and environmental protection, is an ideal place to mine. In order to keep turning Ontario's natural resource potential into jobs and sustainable wealth, it is essential to keep the mining cycle robust: encouraging more exploration will lead to exciting new discoveries; introducing new regulatory efficiencies will speed up the process of turning these discoveries into mines; new mines will drive development along the production chain, transforming and improving productivity and wages in service industries and ultimately bolstering highly innovative creative industries throughout the province, enabling a self-reinforcing upward cycle of innovation and smart, equitable growth.
The Life of a Mine
Prospecting & Claim Staking 1-2 years
Basic & Intermediate Exploration 3-4 years
Advanced Exploration 5-10 years
Development & Production 20 years
Closure & Rehabilitation 2-10 years
Monitoring 5-100 years
Chart courtesy of Ontario's Ministry of Northern Development and Mines
Resources & Publications:
Mineral Exploration and Mining Essentials by Robert Stevens