Ontario’s mining legacy: A continuing story
The tens of thousands of skilled Ontarians that proudly work in our province’s mining sector represent an industry that safely provides the building blocks of society. From your kitchen sink to advanced computing, green energy, electric vehicles and rechargeable batteries, mining provides the elements that make it all possible.
Ontario’s mining industry is also a key contributor to the success and prosperity of Ontario, and is an engine for regional development – especially in the North. Today, mining in Ontario produces revenues of around $10 billion per year, employing 78,000 workers in well-paid, rewarding careers. We are also the single largest private sector employer of Indigenous Canadians.
Looking back, mining helped to build Ontario – both literally and figuratively. What were once small mining camps have grown to become vibrant communities that are home to innovative companies that see the importance of diversity and talent, and whose global connections, experience and use of new technologies give Ontario and our mining companies a competitive edge. They are also home to family businesses and creative start-ups in the extensive mine supply and service cluster.
Mining uncovers Ontario’s potential by powering regional development, creating opportunities and driving prosperity in all parts of the province. Diverse places such as Sudbury, Windsor, Goderich, Perth, Midland, Timmins, Red Lake, Kirkland Lake, Marathon and North Bay all recognize mining as an important contributor to their local economies.
Our success in these communities and many others hinges on our ability to create alliances based on open communication and trust, enabling us to identify opportunities that will make a positive social impact. The importance and value of continuing to evolve sustainable working relationships with our key stakeholders, in particular with our Indigenous partners and surrounding communities, is essential to our ongoing and future success. With a clear focus on the future, Ontario’s dynamic mining industry is continually evolving to meet society’s changing needs and expectations.
It is not just about what and how much we mine, but about our guiding values. Members of the Ontario Mining Association are committed to prioritizing the health and safety of their employees; minimizing the impact of their activities on the environment by adopting innovative technologies and approaches; contributing to the development and enhancement of local economies; and investing in the future by supporting human capital, education, research and development.
The story of our legacy is an unfinished one, as we continue to change and progress, guided by the desire to make Ontario mining the cleanest, most productive, most technologically advanced and socially responsible in the world. While we work to make our industry better, we are striving to build a legacy in other profound ways as well, as we supply the world with the elements it needs to construct a better future.
When we look back at the last 100 years of mining in our province, we find ourselves as builders of communities, proud of our contributions to the cities and towns in which we work. These are legacies that will live on, far into the future. As we try to imagine what the next hundred will bring, there is no denying that both our sense of pride and our responsibility grows exponentially. We are ready to embrace all that comes with being a part of this great industry.
You can follow the OMA’s centennial campaign using the #ThisIsMining hashtag on Twitter and Instagram.
Peter Xavier is the chair of the Ontario Mining Association and vice-president of Glencore’s Sudbury Integrated Nickel Operations.