Written submission to the Standing Committee on the Interior on their review of Bill 71, Building More Mines Act
The Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of over 800 businesses in Thunder Bay and area.
We welcome the proposed changes to the Mining Act that are outlined in Bill 71, Building More Mines Act 2023. The current process for mine approval is unnecessarily duplicative and expensive and has long been a barrier to investment and development of Ontario’s mining resources. We are supportive of Bill 71 which seeks to streamline processes to reduce the time it takes to open a new mine, while continuing to ensure that Indigenous communities are engaged and consulted throughout. We are also encouraged by the Ministry’s effort to increase staffing resources within the affected departments so that reviews can be undertaken in a timely and comprehensive manner.
The mining industry is an important growth area for our community. In the last 10 years, our Chamber, in collaboration with the Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission, has hosted or participated in numerous information sessions, procurement networking activities and tradeshows to help to educate and inform local businesses about regional mining developments. These sessions continue to be of significant interest with hundreds of participants eager to learn more about new mining developments and procurement opportunities.
Thunder Bay is a vital supply and service centre for mines across Northwestern Ontario. According to the Thunder Bay CEDC Mining Readiness strategy, the economic impact of mining in Northwestern Ontario in 2020 was approximately $4.3 billion. Approximately 850 Thunder Bay residents work at the mines in the region, while thousands more are employed by the nearly 500 service and supply companies that support these mining operations and exploration sites.
We agree that the proposed changes in Bill 71 are integral to the development of new mines across Northwestern Ontario that will support Ontario’s efforts to build a strong domestic mining-to-manufacturing supply chain, and become a key player in the global energy transition.