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Province provides $9M to help junior miners find critical minerals

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As the world transitions to electric vehicles, the provincial government is providing money for junior mining companies to spur exploration projects.

Almost $9 million through the Ontario Junior Exploration Program is being made available to junior mining companies to help them find “critical minerals used in electric vehicles, smartphones, laptops, medical equipment and renewable energy,” the province said in a news release Friday.

“The Ontario Junior Exploration Program is part of our government’s strategic plan to secure the critical minerals needed for the made-in-Ontario supply chain that will change our world and reshape our economy,” Mines Minister George Pirie said in the release.

“Our plan, backed by strategic investments like this one, will help drive economic development, secure domestic supply chains and create jobs across the province, especially in northern and Indigenous communities.”

The program has committed $8.9 million to 54 projects – 37 of them exploring for critical minerals – leveraging approximately $21 million in additional investment from industry.

Ontario has committed a total of $35 million over four years to the program.

Mines Minister George Pirie announces funding for junior miners in Timmins on Friday. (Supplied)

Companies receiving money include:

- $200,000 to EV Nickel to complete a drill program to test for nickel, copper and platinum group metals deposits.

- $200,000 to E2Gold to complete soil, bedrock and channel sampling, followed by a drill program to test for gold deposits.

- $200,000 to Noble Minerals to complete geophysical surveys and a drill program to detect sulphide-bearing rocks that might host critical elements such as zinc, copper, gold, silver, cobalt, selenium and tellurium.

- $200,000 to Rockridge Resources Inc. to complete a drill program to test for critical minerals such as lithium, nickel and copper and other precious minerals such as gold.

- $77,405 to Mink Ventures Corporation to complete a drilling program and helicopter testing to identify nickel, copper and cobalt deposits.

The program has dedicated $12 million exclusively to critical minerals.

“This stream will support the discovery and development of critical minerals that will help build an integrated supply chain for electric vehicles – connecting producers in the north with Ontario’s world-class manufacturing sector in the south,” the release said.

The program covers up to 50 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $200,000 per project. To be eligible to apply for funding, junior mining companies must have a market capitalization of up to $100 million, or a comparable value, if they are privately owned.

Ontario’s mining sector directly supports 78,000 jobs in the province. 

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