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Mixed reaction to Ontario's new mining legislation


Bill 71, Ontario's Building More Mines Act, the legislation is attracting its fair share of criticism.

The legislation, which amends the current Mining Act, passed third reading this week and is waiting for royal assent.

The law aims to help the government fast-track the approval of new mines and speed up production timelines.

"It's focused entirely on making the ministry more efficient and effective in getting the job done," Ontario Minister of Mines George Pirie told CTV News.

"We know that we're transitioning off of fossil fuels and into a battery economy. The electric vehicle revolution is happening and we've got the minerals required to secure the supply chain in northern Ontario but we can't take 15 years to get them out of the ground."

Pirie said the bill will help Ontario meet the growing demand for the minerals needed for electric vehicles.

"These are the fuels of the future, I can't stress that enough," he said.

"The rare earths for instance … none (are) produced in North America. They're coming from places, not Cobalt but rather the Congo and China. If the Chinese embargoed rare earths, we would be in tough shape because rare earths are required to build the magnets that are required to build the motors in the electric vehicles.”

While groups like the Ontario Mining Association welcomed the legislation, the bill has its critics. The NDP said it couldn't support the bill because it moved into third reading after the Progressive Conservatives had turned down all suggested amendments.

The Minister of Mines was quick to jump on the results of the vote tweeting a graphic on his Twitter feed later that suggested the province's official opposition was voting against jobs and economic prosperity for the North.

"It's really disappointing because the NDP is not, we're not against mining," said Guy Bourgouin, MPP for Mushkegowuk – James Bay.

"We want to develop these green energy mining materials."

Bourgouin said the bill falls short when it comes to consulting First Nations.

"We saw at Queen's Park a few weeks ago (people) from nine First Nations come and give their case to the government,” he said.


“First Nations have said enough is enough, we have communities that have 21-year boil water advisories, we have communities that are land-locked, in my riding, on their traditional territories and we have a government that is not consulting even though they say they are."

Matawa Chiefs Council released a statement ahead of the vote opposing the bill, as did Atikameksheng, just outside of Sudbury.

It said, in part: “Ontario has a legal requirement to consult, engage and accommodate Atikameksheng Anishinawbek when it chooses to infringe upon our treaty rights and has not approached Atikameksheng Anishinawbek to consult with us to discuss our concerns in a meaningful way.”

Pirie insisted the concerns are unfounded.

The bill will become law once it receives royal assent. Top Stories

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