Industry Event Highlights How Mines Transform Lives

Posted on Friday November 03, 2017
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Every year for 39 years, mining industry leaders meet with provincial decision-makers at Queen's Park for a full day of events focused on issues that matter to our industry and to the people of Ontario. "Meet the Miners" gives members of the Legislature and senior mining executives the opportunity to exchange ideas to continue strengthening Ontario's mining sector, while delivering real benefits to the people in this province. 

On November 1, 2017, the focus of "Meet the Miners" was on the mining sector's exceptional potential to contribute to the economic development of Ontario, provided good policy and governance frameworks are in place. 

"The history of Ontario demonstrates that mining can transform people's lives and communities for the better," noted OMA Chair Duncan Middlemiss. "As we seek to improve quality of life, while confronting global challenges like climate change, mining - and specifically, Ontario mining - is very much part of the solution. After all, our industry produces all the essential and irreplaceable components of daily life and modern technology - everything from life-saving medical devices to planet-saving innovations depends on minerals and metals." He added that, "In Ontario, we can produce these building blocks of life in the safest, cleanest, most productive, technologically-advanced and socially responsible manner."

Mining Day at Queen's Park began with an OMA Board of Directors meeting, which included a presentation by Giles Gherson, Deputy Minister of Economic Development and Growth, and of Research, Innovation and Science. Minister Gherson discussed the Red Tape Challenge and the government's goal to boost innovation, drive the scale-up of homegrown companies and attract investment by designing proportionate and outcome-oriented regulation that efficiently delivers on Ontario's public policy objectives. 

The OMA Board also heard from Tom Adams, an independent advisor and researcher, who described factors affecting Ontario's electricity policy and pricing regime - a key competitiveness issue for Ontario miners. The keynote speaker, Bryan Coates, President Osisko Gold Royalties, outlined the story of Canadian Malartic and explained why Quebec mining is succeeding - including the positive impact of government policies, financial partnerships for resource discovery, and low cost, reliable and clean energy.

Following the keynote address, OMA members met with Members of the Cabinet, Leaders of all three parties, Members of Provincial Parliament (MPPs), political staff and public servants from various ministries. In all, sixteen meetings took place, at which OMA members shared the industry's strengths, achievements and challenges. They pointed out that Ontario's mining production leads Canada at $10.8 billion in 2016 and that 90% of mining GDP stays inside Ontario. As a generator of high-paying jobs and spin-off opportunities, the industry is the backbone of many diverse communities - benefiting all Ontarians (learn more about our contribution). 

"We are proud of our big economic impact and our small environmental footprint, as well as our outstanding safety record" said OMA President, Chris Hodgson. "It is good to be part of an industry that truly is the best in the world and to know that, despite our leadership position in hard rock mining, we are actively striving to be even better."

OMA members' focus on continuous improvement led to insightful discussions of how a targeted innovation strategy can help Ontario mining grow sustainably and continue to be a vital player in the low carbon economy. Currently, Ontario mining creates more economic value for the energy it consumes than most other industries, and with lower GHG emissions. "Maintaining and improving our competitive position and innovation potential requires strategic thinking, good policy and collaborative action," said Chris Hodgson. OMA members raised concerns regarding the impact of high electricity prices on competitiveness, highlighted the need for "smart" regulations and oversight, as well as partnerships to accelerate adoption of new technologies. In moving the industry forward and fostering an attractive investment climate, OMA members stressed their desire to develop even stronger ties with the communities in which we operate. 

Following a statement by the Minister for Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation, David Zimmer, announcing Meet the Miners Day in the Legislature, Norm Miller, MPP for Parry Sound - Muskoka and PC Critic for Northern Development and Mines, recounted his visit to Goldcorp's Borden mine site, the world's first all-electric gold mine. He noted that that the suppliers developing the machinery needed to eliminate diesel equipment underground include MacLean Engineering of Collingwood. "Their success is a great example of how a thriving mining sector in northern Ontario can create jobs in southern Ontario," said Mr. Miller. Gilles Bisson, MPP for Timmins-James Bay and NDP critic for Natural Resources and Forestry, added, "As we know, mining is a key industry not only for northern Ontario, but it's a key industry for all of Ontario." (see map)

Although regrettably the co-host of Mining Day at Queen's Park, Northern Development and Mines Minister Gravelle was not able to attend, the evening reception attracted over 200 people. Ontario Energy Minister Glenn Thibeault offered greetings, along with Norm Miller and Gilles Bisson. Addressing the assembled MPPs, civil servants, industry leaders and partners, the OMA President thanked those gathered for supporting mining and recognizing its importance in Ontario. Mr. Hodgson emphasized the industry's commitment to developing partnerships that encourage cutting-edge innovation and growth: "Our priority is to continue to work together and make Ontario the most attractive mining jurisdiction in Canada and around the world."