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Mines Minister confident Ontario is on the mining rebound

May 1, 2024

by Kevin Vincent

Mines Minister and Timmins MPP George Pirie says Ontario is regaining its position as one of the world’s most prominent mining jurisdictions.
Our brand in Ontario, of course, is all about the carbon footprint,” said Pirie. “What it’s based on is the fact that the majority of the (power) grid is totally green. And we will be increasing the size of our grid that’s not associated with fossil fuels. It’s a big part of our brand,” he added.
Pirie says miners understand the green economy. “It’s who we are as miners. We believe in mining sustainably. And the definition of that - is meeting the needs of this generation, without sacrificing the future generation. That’s why you see our major mining companies developing power systems. Look at Canada Nickel, they’re going to power their fleet with hydrogen. Using natural gas to create hydrogen and sequestering the CO2 in serpentine.”
That brand is underscored right now by a dramatic dip in critical mineral prices. Pirie says he sees that as cyclical.
“The juniors are the first ones to feel any price weakness. And of course, there’s no price weakness in gold. So, anybody that’s working in the gold space is going to be in a pretty good space for sure. The price of nickel fell off by 40% last year. And that’s all in relation to the nickel that’s coming from Indonesia. We don’t want the nickel from Indonesia. It’s powered with coal, and it’s financed by the Chinese. And they dump tailings in the sea. And for very obvious reasons, we don’t want the cobalt to come from the Congo. So, I expect that we’ll see some movement. Because the world at large, the western countries, do not want to be buying vehicles that are powered by batteries that are sourced from dirty nickel.”
Pirie points out that Vale spent $1.5 billion of their own money, eliminating the emissions of the superstack in Sudbury. He says all these technologies are being developed and used and refined and getting better. “As a society, miners realize that we fully participate in that objective of the next generation. Not only in the gold sector, but certainly the critical mineral sector - I think the juniors will be well poised to benefit from everything we’re doing.”
At the moment, there are a lot of major mining companies investing in juniors, a traditional source of growth. Pirie sees that trend continuing, especially in gold.
“Obviously the majors have always realized that their investment in the junior companies is perhaps the best investment in exploration they possibly can do. But at the same time, you realize that your juniors are agile, and the majors realize that an agile Junior’s sector is essential for the health of the industry. And they’re businessmen and they’re good explorers, they’re good mining people, so they will invest with the quality juniors.”
One of the ways those companies come together is at the Canadian Mining Expo “The Big Event”. Pirie says the annual mining show is a world-class opportunity for investors to immerse themselves in the heart of Ontario’s vibrant mining sector.
“What makes a difference is this show is situated in the heart of a mining camp. Within 45 minutes you can see every significant company that are developing in the junior sector - critical minerals and gold - as well as the major gold mining companies. So, it’s a huge opportunity for the investor to have a very economical, efficient way to take a look at the mining industry and the technology and the trades associated with it. One quick trip, you can go from Detour, to Macassa, to Côté - every single sector is very well represented.”


Visit the Minister of Mines during the Canadian Mining Expo in Timmins as he delivers the State of Mining Address on June 6th as part of the Projects in the Pipeline Conference. Registration is open and tickets are limited. Visit www.canadianminingexpo.com and get your tickets today.


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