OMA offers broad support for proposed Mining Act changes
Ontario Mining Association
The Ontario Mining Association is supportive of proposed changes in the Mining Act, which were introduced in the Legislature on April 30, 2009. The process to modernize the Mining Act began in July 2008 and more than 1,000 people and groups participated in the public consultations and stakeholder sessions.”The Minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle and his staff have done an excellent job in sticking to the scope of the changes in the Act,” said OMA President Chris Hodgson. “Ontario has a vast geological potential and the proposed changes add clarity and certainty to investing and developing the province´s mineral resources for the benefit of all citizens.”
Mining in Ontario is a $10.7 billion annual business, which provides the province with a trade surplus of $3.3 billion, high productivity, investment of $2.7 billion in research, exploration, construction and equipment, more than $600 million in corporate tax revenues and a collective payroll of about $1.2 billion. The industry is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginals and a vital generator of regional development.
“The proposed legislation takes bold steps toward a modern, innovative Mining Act that would balance all of our respective interests, benefit Ontario communities and support a vibrant Ontario minerals industry,” said Mines Minister Michael Gravelle. “We want our legislation to continue supporting a vibrant Ontario minerals industry that would help our communities realize their economic and social aspirations.”
The legislation deals with recognizing Aboriginal and treaty rights and its envisions a dispute resolution process for mining related issues. Aboriginal cultural sites can be removed from claim staking, communities will be notified immediately after a claim is staked and mineral explorationists will be required to notify First Nations of their activities on traditional lands. There is also clarification of the consulting process between mining companies and First Nations.
The legislation also addresses conflicts, which have arisen between mineral exploration companies and private surface land rights holders who do not own mineral rights for their lands. There are to be rules for enhanced notification and a map staking process for claims will be introduced in Southern Ontario. Potential conflict between surface rights holders and mineral rights open for staking affects only 1.4% of the land in Southern Ontario and 0.4% of the land in Northern Ontario.
On the plus side for companies will be the graduated regulatory scheme for early exploration work. Exploration plans would be required for lower impact activities and exploration permits for higher impact activities.
“We look forward to working with the Minister of Northern Development and Mines and his staff along with other stakeholders to develop the regulations to shape the revisions in the legislation,” said Mr. Hodgson. “We have a good foundation to build upon and move forward into the future to develop the province´s mineral resources and provide economic and employment opportunities for all Ontarians.”