Every year for almost 40 years, mining industry leaders meet with provincial decision-makers at Queen's Park for a full day of events focused on issues that matter to our industry and to the people of Ontario. "Meet the Miners" gives members of the legislature and senior mining executives the opportunity to exchange ideas to continue strengthening Ontario's mining sector, while delivering real benefits to the people in this province.
On October 26, 2016, the focus of "Meet the Miners" was on innovation and collaborative action to make Ontario's mining industry the cleanest, most productive, technologically-advanced and socially responsible in the world.
"The recent downturn in global markets offers some important lessons for our sector," noted OMA Chair Marc Lauzier. "To survive and flourish, we need to go beyond our natural competitive advantages and develop innovative strengths." He added that, "Innovation a major determinant of global competitiveness and future success - increasingly, mining industry leaders, governments, investors and academics are rallying behind this notion. Likewise, OMA members are seeking input from partners on our vision of the mine of the future, which includes zero harm, zero carbon and zero waste, as well as increased productivity and production."
Mining Day at Queen's Park began with an OMA Board of Directors meeting, which included discussions with Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario NDP, and Patrick Brown, Leader of the Ontario PCs. Patrick Brown noted that, "mining is an incredible asset to the province and we need to ensure it's competitive." Andrea Horwath noted that Ontario's mining sector flourishes, "not just by luck of geology, but due to hard working people and investments by [OMA member] companies."
The keynote speaker, Ken Hoffman, Global Head of Metals and Mining Research of Bloomberg Intelligence, outlined in detail the key challenges and opportunities in global commodity markets. He also spoke of the Chinese impact, particularly in base metals, and referenced a strong tailwind for the gold sector.
Members of the Cabinet Ministers' Panel, which assembled following the keynote address, recognized the challenges, as well as the strengths of the sector. They discussed how a targeted innovation strategy can help Ontario mining grow sustainably and continue to be a vital player in the low carbon economy. Concerns regarding the impact of high electricity prices were raised by OMA members, as was the desire to develop even stronger ties with the communities in which we operate. Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, led an insightful discussion among industry leaders and his cabinet colleagues: the Ministers of Labour and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation.
Marc Lauzier briefed all three political parties on the current state of the sector and noted that the OMA will complete a new economic report by the end of the year. Preliminary findings of the study are at this link. Following a statement by Minister Gravelle in the legislature, Norm Miller, PC Critic for Northern Development and Mines, said, "...while listening to current chair Marc Lauzier's presentation, I couldn't help but be impressed with just how much mining contributes to Ontario." Mike Mantha, NDP critic for Northern Development and Mines, added, "When we see the potential for a new mine, we're talking about the potential for thousands of good jobs."
As a co-host of Mining Day at Queen's Park, Minister Gravelle invited all MPPs, to attend an evening reception. Premier Kathleen Wynne was among those who joined the large gathering. "When it comes to experience, innovation, technology and safety, Ontario is a global leader", said Minister Gravelle, noting that, "the mines and minerals sector makes an incredible contribution to the Ontario economy."
Addressing the assembled MPPs, civil servants, industry leaders and partners, OMA President Chris Hodgson thanked the MPP for Timiskaming-Cochrane John Vanthof for suggesting the night's parting gift - a flashdrive commemorating the high school videos received for the So You Think You Know Mining competition.