Proposed mining act changes flawed, critics say
Posted: May 7, 2012 1:30 PM ET
Last Updated: May 7, 2012 1:15 PM ET
The deadline to comment on proposed changes to the province's mining act has passed. But some people say the changes will not address outstanding issues, including obtaining permits and First Nations consultation.
Isadore Day, the Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief, said there needs to be a balance that includes dialogue with First Nations people while improving the province's economy.Isadore Day is the Lake Huron Regional Grand Chief.
“I think the government has to take a step back and ask itself the question, ‘does it make sense now to use this as an example to ensure that First Nations are participating in the resource based economy’ to answer the outstanding issue of resource revenue sharing,” he said.
Day said improvements also need to be made regarding early consultation between mining companies and First Nations.
The proposed mining regulations also have potential to negatively impact business for junior mining companies, said Dave Hunt, a geologist who heads up the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association.
He said the delays involved in getting approval for permits will “increase our cost of business. It's going to slow us down considerably.”Dave Hunt is a geologist who heads up the Northwestern Ontario Prospectors Association.
According to the Ontario government, investment in mineral exploration was more than $1billion last year.
Hunt said the majority of money is spent by bigger mining companies, but said exploration is key to finding major projects.
"Our fear is that if the early stage prospecting is reduced under this new mining act, then years down the road there just won't be the number of advanced projects coming along,” he said.
Early stage discussions with First Nations also need to happen, Day said.
“First Nations need to be much more included into that process, verses later on in the permitting stage,” he said. “There should be some consideration given when even prospecting and developing these claims occurs.”
Feedback submitted to the government about the mining act is currently being reviewed.
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