Home > News > Ontario Mines Minister...

Ontario Mines Minister George Pirie Introduces Amendments to the Mining Act

Mar 3, 2023

It shouldn’t take years to open a mine in Ontario. Many people in the mining industry and communities that provide services, supplies and workers to work in the mines have been saying that for many years.

Today, Minister of Mines, George Pirie, on behalf of the Ontario government introduced amendments to the Mining Act that are designed to shorten the time it takes to open a new mine in Ontario. 

If passed, the amendments will encourage more investment in Ontario’s mining sector and strengthen  the made-in-Ontario critical minerals supply chains for batteries, electric vehicles, telecommunications, pharmaceuticals and other advanced manufacturing technologies. 
Since the Progressive Conservative Government under Premier Doug Ford has a majority in the Ontario Legislature, the amendments should pass during the current legislative session which opened the last week in February 2023, after it receives input for the public on the proposed legislation.
The proposed amendments were placed on the Ontario’s Environmental Registry where the public can access the Building More Mines Act, 2023. The public has until April 16, 2023 to offer comments. Pirie asserted that all amendments will maintain Ontario’s strong standards for environmental protection and meet the Duty to Consult with Indigenous communities.
“It shouldn’t take 15 years to open a mine. This process is too time consuming and costly, leading to project delays and lost opportunities for Ontario’s mineral exploration and mining sector,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines. “We need to get building. That’s why our government is introducing changes to the Mining Act to help attract more investment and secure the critical minerals that support the made-in-Ontario supply chain for new technologies like batteries and electric vehicles.”
The amendments to the Mining Act made under a bill called the Building More Mines Act, 2023 would save mining companies time and money, while also providing supplies to serve Ontario’s growing new technology, electric vehicles and batteries industries.
The changes will make it easier for companies developing critical minerals projects to get a permit to recover minerals from mine tailings and waste – materials left behind after the targeted minerals are extracted.
This measure would have an added benefit of also improving closure planning by having more qualified professionals available to certify plans and allow companies to file a closure plan while continuing to reclaim and recycle critical elements that may be contained in the mine tailings. 
The changes in the Mining Act will give companies more flexibility in the techniques used to rehabilitate mines once they are closed, while upholding Ontario’s world-class environmental protection standards.
A major improvement to help the financial assurance payments for the closure is to provide companies an option to pay financial assurances in phases tied to a company’s construction schedule and paid over time, instead of upfront and all at once.
In explaining the changes, Pirie indicated that these changes would benefit the entire minerals sector and also advance Ontario’s plan to build an integrated supply chain by connecting mineral producers in the north, including those in the Ring of Fire, with the manufacturing sector in the south.
The modifications to the Mining Act would increase certainty for business planning and generate investment in Northern Ontario to provide significant economic development opportunities for northern and Indigenous communities.
Mining plays a major role in Ontario’s economy. In 2021, Ontario produced over $11.1 billion worth of minerals, accounting for 20 per cent of Canada’s total mineral production and approximately $3.1 billion worth of critical minerals. The Ontario government released its Critical Minerals Strategy last year, a five-year plan that includes addressing regulatory challenges to get mines built more efficiently.

"As the world shifts to a greener, more connected and more tech-driven economy, the demand for Ontario’s responsibly mined minerals will continue to grow,” said Chris Hodgson, the President of the Ontario Mining Association in support of the amendments. 

“This presents a generational opportunity – to create rewarding jobs, build a strong domestic mining-to-manufacturing supply chain, and be a key player in the global energy transition,” Hodgson added. 

“Given that we are competing with jurisdictions across the world to feed the decarbonization-driven commodity super cycle, the government must take bold action to help Ontario succeed,” he noted. “This includes addressing current challenges in the Mining Act and providing a regulatory pathway forward for our industry leadership in the global marketplace."
One area that is of particular importance for mining development in Ontario is the Ring of Fire in northwestern Ontario. The Ring of Fire is  considered to be the most promising mineral development projects in Ontario’s history, with a multi-generational potential for critical minerals production including chromite, nickel, copper and platinum needed for clean steel and electric vehicle manufacturing.

The increasing importance of Ontario’s electric battery vehicles was hit home in February, 2023 when Magna International announced it will expand its operations and strengthen its electric vehicle parts production to meet growing demand and increase local access for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), putting more electric vehicles (EVs) on roads.

Companies like Magna International and other electric vehicle battery manufacturing need minerals and metals mined in Ontario such as lithium, cobalt, nickel and copper. Recovering these elements from past mine tailings offers another supply source that will support Ontario’s EV industry.


George Pirie Ontario Mines Minister
Ontario Minister of Mines George Pirie, MPP for Timmins Riding


Tags: Southern Ontario / Government / All Articles