The location and status of all mining claims in the furthest reaches of Ontario are at your fingertips, thanks to a new online map developed by the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Information about individual claims is publicly available on government web sites but the new online tool, called the Caribou Story Map, collects data about all claims in one place showing how they relate to each other, and local caribou habitat.
"Keeping an eye on the big picture is really important, to see the bigger landscape and understand how this, and other impacts may accumulate over time," said Justina Ray, the president and senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Ontario's far north is the fastest growing area of mineral exploration in the province, Ray said. It's a situation that is creating threats to caribou habitat, including calving and feeding grounds.
Caribou are designated a species at risk in Ontario and remote part of the province is "a current stronghold" for the animals, Ray said.
An interface on the map allows users to find information about the ownership of claims, the status of exploration permits and schedules for further development activity.
"Not all exploration turns into mines, but it still does have impact in terms of the footprint," Ray said.
The conservation group hopes the map will be useful to government, First Nations and industry as well as anyone with an interest in land use planning.