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Province provides up to $200K to help junior miners find critical metals


The Ontario government is spending $5.8 million to help junior mining companies explore for critical minerals used in manufacturing batteries for electric vehicles, smartphones, pharmaceuticals and advanced manufacturing technologies.

In a news release Thursday, the province said the funding is part of the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP) to help increase and expand mineral exploration, growth and job creation in the province, particularly in northern and Indigenous communities.

The program provides a maximum of $200,000 and the mining company has to at least match the funds to be eligible.

Overall, Ontario is spending $12 million over four years for critical mineral exploration in the OJEP.

Since the launch of the program in 2021, 32 mining companies have received funding for exploration of minerals such as nickel, copper, cobalt and lithium. The companies have spent an additional $12.8 million in these projects.

“These investments are an important part of our government's plan to build our economy as we support industry exploration for the critical minerals Ontario is blessed with,” Premier Doug Ford is quoted as saying in the release.

“We’re building a supply chain ecosystem, connecting resources and workers in the north to the future of clean steel and electric vehicles, and ensuring the cars of the future can be built in Ontario from start to finish by Ontario workers.”

Ford was in Sault Ste. Marie to make the announcement Thursday, along with George Pirie, Minister of Mines.

“Northern Ontario is blessed with some of the most mineral-rich deposits anywhere in the world," Ford said in the Sault.

"This includes the high-demand, critical minerals, like nickel, cobalt, and lithium, needed for advanced technologies, clean energy solutions, and the electric vehicles of the future.”

“Early exploration is the first step to finding future mines including critical minerals,” Pirie is quoted as saying.

“The Ontario Junior Exploration Program is helping unlock the province’s vast mineral exploration potential and paving the way for unprecedented growth in our mining sector.”

Tony Porco, president of SIS Manufacturing, said investments in mineral exploration will benefit his business, as it directly supplies the mining sector.

“Their beams, their girders, their crane work, as far as Sudbury to Alamos, the new Dubreuilville mine," said Porco.

"It definitely helps us."

“Our government will continue to make targeted investments that enhance growth in locally-driven mineral exploration while bolstering supply chains,” added Greg Rickford, Minister of Northern Development.

“By supporting early exploration, we are opening the door for economic development across the north that will lead to high quality full-time jobs and stronger communities.”

The province is currently accepting a third round of applications for the Ontario Junior Exploration Program.

The deadline to apply is March 16. Details on the application process are available online.

"It is tremendous that our government continues to support and invest in early exploration to build Ontario's mining sector,” Sault MPP Ross Romano said in the release.

“When you consider how many people are employed by local businesses that provide vital services and supplies in the integrated mining supply chain, every time a mine opens in northern Ontario, Sault Ste. Marie wins." Top Stories

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