Home > News > CEDC Helping Thunder Bay...

CEDC Helping Thunder Bay and Region Gear Up for Coming Mining Boom

Aug 22, 2022

By Graham Strong
There’s a wave of new mining projects rolling into Northwestern Ontario, especially for critical minerals. Andrew Kane, incoming Manager of Natural Resources Business Development at the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC), said the region is ready.
“Thunder Bay is well positioned for the coming mining boom,” Kane said. “We have over a hundred years of experience in exploration, mine construction, and mine operation in the region, with Thunder Bay being the hub.”
Kane said that lithium will be a key driver in Northwestern Ontario’s next mining boom. He cited four main lithium projects now underway: Avalon Advanced Materials (Separation Rapids, north of Kenora), Frontier Lithium (two projects north of Red Lake), Green Technology Metals (Seymour Lake, east of Armstrong), and Rock Tech Lithium (Georgia Lake, near Beardmore).
These projects are at various stages of development, Kane said, noting that Avalon recently announced plans for a processing facility in Thunder Bay.
“The CEDC is the one-stop facilitator to help mining companies find employees, contractors, suppliers, and so on,” he said. “We’re often the bridge between government agencies, Indigenous communities, and organizations.”
He added that CEDC support includes helping new workers to Thunder Bay including skilled foreign workers through the Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot (RNIP) program.
“There’s a lot more to it than just getting a job for people coming from Toronto, Australia, or the United States. It’s also about helping their families get settled into our city to support them to stay.”
The city and region often come as a surprise to those moving here.
“Thunder Bay has a culturally diverse population, great facilities, great schools, lots of recreation – and above all, the outdoors. Everyone who comes here for the first time says, ‘Wow... this is so pristine!’ Here’s an example: one person I talked to recently couldn’t believe that you can go out fishing on a lake and you’d be the only one out there.”
Of course, the perennial mining story out of Northwestern Ontario is the Ring of Fire. Kane is optimistic that with Wyloo Metals’ recent purchase of Noront Resources, they will have the resources necessary to get the project moving forward once all Indigenous consultation sessions are complete.
“A worldwide expert in mining has entered the marketplace,” he said. “They will be spending billions of dollars developing the Eagle’s Nest nickel deposit: building the 325-kilometre road, the transmission lines, and the mine site in partnership with the First Nations in that area.”
Mining isn’t the only growth area in the Thunder Bay and region. Forestry, energy, and manufacturing are also seeing upticks, creating a labour shortage. Many opportunities have opened up for workers here and Thunder Bay will support all those who are willing to come. CEDC is recruiting international workers and working with local and regional Indigenous employment and training organizations to ensure they are part of conversations and are given all opportunities for current and upcoming available positions. Labour recruitment will continue to be the focus of the CEDC. As this boom grows, so too will the work opportunities.
“There is a great career to be made in the trades and technology space, not just for young people, but anybody moving here to work in the natural resources sector.”
Kane said the boom is also increasing opportunities for First Nations throughout Northwestern Ontario. “Indigenous contractors and suppliers are supplying many of these key services to those industries. Most if not all natural resource projects in Northwestern Ontario rely on support from Indigenous-owned and Indigenous joint venture companies. It is extremely encouraging, and there is still room for growth.”

Assisting business in many ways

The CEDC can assist businesses in many different ways, Kane said. These include business development and entrepreneurial support, helping access government funding, market and labour data, business networking, and promoting career opportunities to connect employees with companies. Kane said that businesses can reach out to the CEDC through its website:
“We work closely with FedNor and the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC), so helping companies secure funding is a key part of what we do for new businesses moving to Thunder Bay.”
Kane said that the CEDC is working with local companies to support them as they adapt and expand their services for the coming boom. There are also opportunities for new suppliers.
“There’s no better time for new entrants into the marketplace that support the mineral exploration and mining business,” Kane said. “There have been a number of new service and supply companies that have established branch offices in Thunder Bay for the first time.”
Learn more about the mining and exploration sector in Northwestern Ontario: www.gotothunderbay.ca/mining


Tags: Northern Ontario / Events / Minerals / All Articles