There might be help on the way for the slumping mining industry in Ontario, Canada.
In a report released on Dec. 1, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce called on the government to do more to encourage mining development in the province, including in the Ring of Fire.
The chamber said both the province and the federal government need to invest in the struggling mining sector, CBC Canada reported.
Chamber president Allan O'Dette says he hopes the chamber's recommendations will be reflected when the province renews its mineral development strategy.
“We think that a focus on infrastructure in particular in northern Ontario will also help us be prepared for the future,” he said.
The recommendations include:
• Create a revenue-sharing framework between government and First Nations “to provide certainty surrounding the benefits that these communities will gain from mineral resource development.”
• Increase tax credits meant to encourage investment in exploration companies.
• Increase Ontario’s investment in mining research and innovation.
• Use “global demand for Ontario mining expertise” to create new business.
O'Dette said the Ring of Fire is critically important, but that this report is also about the broader mining sector, which he notes is worth billions to the province.
He says he hopes the change in federal government will inspire renewed co-operation between all levels of government.
Ontario's minister of Northern Development and Mines Michael Gravelle responded to the report with hints that exploration incentives could be unveiled in the next few weeks.
“I can say, I think, without getting myself in too much trouble, that our strategy will certainly be speaking to a number of the issues related to the need to drive exploration in the province of Ontario,” Gravelle said.
Gravelle wouldn't say what those changes might be, only promising they will be unveiled over the next few weeks.
“There's no question the mining sector is going through a challenging time,” he told CBC News. “We went out there to consult with people about how could our renewed, revitalized mineral development strategy bring forward some recommendations to help stimulate the sector. Hopefully, when we do release this, which will be before the end of this year, you will see some of the fruits of that labor and those consultations coming to bear.”