Ontario creates working group to cut red tape in the mining sector
Mining Working Group announced at PDAC
The provincial government is creating a mining working group it says will focus on reducing red tape and attracting new investment.
The announcement was made by Premier Doug Ford, and the Minister of Energy, Northern Development and Mines,Greg Rickford, at the annual Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada conference.
"For too long, Ontario's minerals sector has been mired in lengthy regulatory approvals and other barriers to investment," Rickford said.
"By convening this working group of industry leaders, our government is sending a strong signal to the world that Ontario's mining industry is open for business and open for jobs."
The group is chaired by Rickford and will include industry representatives, prospectors and Indigenous business organizations.
But the new group is not sitting well with everyone, including activist Joan Kuyek. She's with Ontarians for a Just, Accountable Mineral Strategy.
Kuyek says she doesn't believe there are many obstacles left for mining companies.
'Attack on our land'
"They already have almost everything they could ask for," she said.
"When they talk about reducing red tape, we know it's going to be an attack on First Nations rights. It's going to be an attack on our land and waters and it's going to be paid for out of reduced taxes by Ontarians."
Kuyek says Ontario has Canada's lowest mining tax but investment hinges more on commodity prices than anything else.
"The thing they call red tape is in fact the protection for the environment, for the waters, for the land, for Indigenous people, that are in place in other pieces of legislation," she said.
"So when they talk about getting rid of red tape, what they want is a free ride for the mining industry."
With files from Kate Rutherford