Mining in Ontario
The Ontario Mining Act, passed in 1873, falls under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Northern Development, Mines and Forestry (MNDM&F). More than 100 years later, in 2009, the provincial government introduced an Act to Amend the Mining Act, intended to update an old piece of legislation in which mining interests are allowed access to most of the land in Ontario, including private property. Moreover, mining projects are exempt from full environmental assessments and are under no obligation to clean up a mining site after the mine has closed.
Unfortunately, this new act has failed to address the exemption permitted for mining from the environmental assessment process or protect Ontarians from being on the hook to pay for cleanup costs.
Mining, including its associated road infrastructure, transmission corridors, and air and water pollution, leaves a huge social and ecological footprint. Lax legislation coupled with economic incentives for mining companies support Ontario’s mining industry. In 2006, $9.4 billion worth of minerals were extracted in Ontario – more than any other jurisdiction in Canada. According to the Ontario Prospectors Association, 41 mines are currently in operation and more than 800 exploration projects are ongoing. The amount of land staked for mining interests totals nearly 54,000 square kilometres – about 6 percent of the province's land base.