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Ontario’s Mines Minister hailing Thunder Bay as Ontario’s next great mining city

Nov 29, 2023

The battle between environmental groups, governments, and the federal justice system hit a speed-bump in early October when the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruled against the federal government’s environmental assessment legislation.
The 2019 Impact Assessment Act, gave Ottawa the power to assess major industrial projects, including new mines and oil developments.
The federal law fueled anger over perceived federal overreach and was challenged in court by the Alberta government. Ontario’s Premier, Doug Ford and Alberta Premier Danielle Smith, claimed victory following the court decision.
“This should cause the federal government to rethink the many other areas where it is overstepping its constitutional competence, like electrical generation and oil and gas production,” said Saskatchewan premier Doug Moe on social media.
For its part, the Ontario government is shining the spotlight on the Ring of Fire. In an October 24 news release, Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey was unequivocal. “In the wake of the Supreme Court of Canada’s October 13 opinion which held the vast majority of the federal government’s duplicative Impact Assessment Act was unconstitutional, our government is taking immediate legal action to bring certainty so that we can get shovels in the ground on infrastructure projects without delay,” wrote Downey.
“Ontario is growing at an unprecedented speed, putting unprecedented pressure on our infrastructure. With gridlock costing our economy upwards of $11 billion each year, it’s never been more important for us to build roads, bridges, highways, and public transit. We need shovels in the ground on the infrastructure that helps get more homes built and the energy infrastructure needed to power our growing economy,” added Downey.
“Affirming the Act’s unconstitutionality by applying for judicial review will ensure that federal decision makers can no longer impede desperately needed infrastructure projects under a law that the Supreme Court of Canada has held to be unconstitutional. This includes bringing legal certainty to projects like Highway 413, the First Nations-led process to build all-season roads connecting the Ring of Fire region, Ontario Place, housing-enabling infrastructure projects and new and refurbished energy generation and transmission projects, including new nuclear reactors,” added the Attorney General.

Minister of Mines George Pirie

For his part, Ontario Mines Minister George Pirie underlined the government’s vision for the Ring of Fire during a passionate speech at the Central Canada Resource Expo in Thunder Bay in September.
“I want to make sure everybody realizes the future that Thunder Bay has in northwestern Ontario. It’s truly a place of the future,” said Pirie.
“All of the metals and minerals that are going to be required to transform our economy are right here in Thunder Bay. It is the hub of the economy in northwestern Ontario.”
Pirie sees the northwest as a major contributor to Ontario’s green economy. “Our government has a game plan to seize this opportunity to fuel the technologies of tomorrow, today. From investing in exploration and innovation to cutting red tape, our government is supporting a strong, made-in-Ontario supply chain for this sector, securing our supply chain.”
Pirie says everyone is aware of the geopolitical tensions that exist in the world today – underlining the importance of home-grown solutions.
“We have the opportunity to secure our supply chain here in Ontario. That’s absolutely critical,” he told the packed audience.
The Minister says he sees Thunder Bay becoming a mining powerhouse like Timmins and Kirkland Lake.
“I don’t know that Thunder Bay has ever been known as a gold site as opposed to places like Timmins or Kirkland Lake, but Thunder Bay will be. This is how we will reach our goal of making Ontario the number one mining jurisdiction in the world and generate prosperity for all communities in our great province, communities in southern Ontario, communities in northern Ontario, and especially indigenous communities. And it all starts with mining right here in northern Ontario and right here in Thunder Bay.”
As the world shifts towards sustainable transportation and cleaner energy sources, the demand for critical minerals has skyrocketed, presenting both challenges and opportunities for the mining industry. This transition hinges on a secure and sustainable supply of critical minerals such as lithium, cobalt, nickel, and rare earth elements. These minerals are essential components in EV batteries, electric motors, and other key technologies that power the electric vehicle revolution. As the demand for electric vehicles continues to surge worldwide, the mining industry plays a vital role in meeting this demand. Exploration efforts throughout Ontario and the world are intensifying, as companies seek new sources of critical minerals to ensure a stable and diversified supply chain. This pursuit presents a unique opportunity for innovative exploration techniques, sustainable mining practices, and collaborative partnerships that prioritize environmental stewardship and community engagement.

For this article and more, click on the link below to access this year`s Northern Mining Report.

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