Mining in Ontario: 21 Facts, History & More!

Mining in Ontario 21 facts, history and more

Did you know that Ontario is a hotbed for mining activity in Canada? With 37 active mines across the province, the industry supports countless families in communities such as Sudbury, Windsor, Midland, Timmins, Perth, Marathon, North Bay and Attawapiskat.

The further north you get in Ontario, the more critical mining becomes for communities where mineral resource development supports tens of thousands of jobs and generates immense prosperity for rural municipalities.

As Canada's largest private sector employer of First Nations, the mining sector's contribution to the well-being and development of remote communities is significant. However, secluded municipalities are not the only ones that benefit.

Major urban centres like Toronto are also underpinned by mining activity in the financial, services and supply sectors. For example, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) lists more publicly traded mining companies and raises more mining equity than any other exchange in the world. It also remains the leading global mining exchange!

These are just a few facts showing the importance of mining for Canadians nationwide. Check out several more facts about mining in Ontario that should give you a broader perspective on the world-class industry we have at home in our most populated province. Also see:

Ontario Mining Sector: 21 Facts

#1 – Ontario is one of the top mineral producing provinces in Canada and is among the top 10 jurisdictions globally for mineral exploration spending [1]

#2 – Ontario is currently home to 37 active mining operations, most of which are located in the northern part of the province that cover a full spectrum of metals and minerals, including precious and base metals, and non-metallic minerals such as gold, cobalt, copper, iron, indium, nickel, platinum group elements, zinc, tellurium, selenium and others [3]

#3 – Ontario is currently home to 16 significant critical mineral mining operations [3]

#4 – Ontario produced $11.1 billion of minerals in 2021 [3]

#5 – Ontario’s mining sector supports a total of 75,000 jobs – 28,000 direct jobs, plus another 47,000 indirect jobs [1]

#6 - Ontario’s mining sector has one of the highest shares of Indigenous workers of all industries in the province, at 11% [3]

#7 - Mining in Ontario contributed an estimated annual total of $8 billion to the economy and $2.9 billion in wages and salaries in 2021 [3]

#8 - Approximately 77% of Ontario’s mining company GDP contributions stay within the province [3]

#9 – Expenditures on mineral exploration projects in the province tallied $989 million in 2022 [3]

#10 - Ontario mining companies sourced 44% of supplies, materials and services from local regions in 2019 [3]

#11 - Ontario is one of the safest mining jurisdictions in the world and one of the safest industries in the province -- from 1975 to 2010, the Ontario mining sector achieved a 96% improvement in lost time injury frequency and, today, scores better than the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) industry average [3]

#12 – Ontario currently has 317,5000 active mining claims in good standing [1]

#13 – Ontario is the largest producer of gold, platinum group elements and nickel in Canada [1]

#14 – Ontario is the second-largest copper producer in Canada [1]

#15 - More than 75% of Ontario’s mining companies participate in carbon pricing schemes that aim to lower GHG emissions and spur new innovation [3]

#16 - 82% of Ontario’s senior mining companies have established carbon emission reduction goals, while 64% have energy management targets [3]

#17 – The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSX-V) are the number one mining and exploration listing venues in the world, where 37% of global mining equity has been raised over the last five years [2]

#18 – Approximately 1,150 mining companies were listed on the TSX and TSX-V in 2020, including more than half of the world’s publicly traded mining companies [1]

#19 – Capital investment into Ontario mining activities has increased from $1.3 billion in 2010 to roughly $2.1 billion in 2020 [1]

#20 – The TSX and TSX-V raised $7.5 billion in new equity capital for mining in 2020 [1]

#21 – 19 of 22 of Ontario’s universities and colleges are home to world-class mining, geology and engineering programs [1]

History of Mining in Ontario

Ontario’s mining history goes back centuries, although the province’s full mineral potential did not become clear until significant silver and gold discoveries were made in the early 20th century [4].

Gypsum was first mined in 1822 in Upper Canada at a place later named Paris, about 30 miles west of Hamilton. Throughout the mid-1800s, special reports on topographical and geological maps were prepared as part of many mining discoveries and explorations.

A key event in Ontario’s mining history was the publication of a report on the province’s mineral wealth, prepared by the Royal Commission. The 566-page document is an encyclopedia of information on the development of Ontario’s mineral sector during its first century in business, setting the stage for future mining operations.

Fast-forward to today and Ontario is now a world-leading mining jurisdiction regarding capital investment, labour standards and environmental protections. Learn more about the extensive history of mining in Ontario:

Sustainable Mining in Ontario

Ontario’s mining sector is a global leader in human rights and environmental protection, maintaining this position through philosophy, investment and action [5].

Every year, the sector commits millions of dollars to protect the environment while looking for new ways to mitigate environmental impacts associated with the extraction and production of minerals and metals.

Throughout the province, mining companies adhere to the highest standards of environmental leadership in areas such as [5]:

  • Water conservation
  • GHG emission reductions
  • Energy efficiency improvements
  • Metal recycling
  • Biodiversity preservation

Canada’s mining industry is seen as a global leader in sustainable practices, accomplished through various regulations and policies now adopted by other mining jurisdictions abroad.

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SOURCES:

1. Invest Ontario. (n.d.). Mining in Ontario. Retrieved from [https://www.investontario.ca/mining#by-the-numbers] (https://www.investontario.ca/mining#by-the-numbers). Date accessed: July 2023

2. Mining Association of Canada. (2021). Facts and Figures of the Canadian Mining Industry. Retrieved from [https://mining.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/FF-2020-EN-Web-1.pdf] (https://mining.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/FF-2020-EN-Web-1.pdf). Date accessed: July 2023

3. Ontario Mining Association. (n.d.). Facts & Figures. Retrieved from [https://oma.on.ca/en/ontario-mining/facts_figures.aspx] (https://oma.on.ca/en/ontario-mining/facts_figures.aspx). Date accessed: July 2023.

4. Republic of Mining. (2010, July 23). Brief History of Ontario Mining. Retrieved from [https://republicofmining.com/2010/07/23/brief-history-of-ontario-mining/] (https://republicofmining.com/2010/07/23/brief-history-of-ontario-mining/). Date accessed: July 2023.

5. Ontario Mining Association. (n.d.). Environmental Stewardship. Retrieved from [https://oma.on.ca/en/ontario-mining/EnvironmentalStewardship.aspx] (https://oma.on.ca/en/ontario-mining/EnvironmentalStewardship.aspx). Date accessed: July 2023.

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