Our Proposals

To read our entire submission to the Ontario Mineral Strategy consultations, click here:  OJAMS May2015 submission

Ontarians for a Just Accountable Mineral Strategy have the following proposals for change: 

  • Recognize the right of First Nations to prior informed consent before claim staking or any other development takes place on their lands
  • Withdraw lands from staking and cancel existing claims where required::
    1. Work with First Nations permanently to withdraw lands that they deem culturally and ecologically significant from staking
    2. Make the withdrawal of mineral rights under the lands of surface rights holders in southern Ontario permanent and extend the same protection to property owners in northern Ontario.[1]
    3. Recognize the “public interest” in refusing claims, exploration and development on Crown lands where there is substantial opposition from municipalities
    4. Protect ecologically significant lands from mining
  • End the primacy of mining over everything else by making changes to the Environmental Assessment Act and the provincial planning policy statement (under the Municipal Act).
    1. Government needs to institute regional strategic environmental assessment prior to any new projects being considered[2] as well as
    2. There must be provincial project specific EA at each stage of the mining cycle, with full public participation. Ontario is the only Ontario jurisdiction with no EA for large mines.
    3. First Nations should lead the EA process within their territories and should be able to withdraw ecologically and culturally significant lands from staking.
  • Protect Ontarians against catastrophic mine failures, closure and abandonment.
    1. Implement the recommendations of the Mount Polley independent expert panel[3] regarding tailings impoundments.
    2. Step up the rehabilitation and monitoring of closed and abandoned mines, especially of those with water covers on their tailings impoundments.[4]
    3. Enact a moratorium on uranium mining and exploration in Ontario until the legacy of closed and abandoned uranium mines in the province has been permanently neutralized.
    4. Ensure full reclamation and accident bonding upfront for all mines, smelters and refineries in Ontario
    5. End financial assurance exemptions for companies with A and B credit ratings.
    6. Ensure full cost accounting for perpetual care and longterm stewardship before mines are operating
    7. Disclose information publicly about closure planning, long-term care plans and reclamation bonds held by the government (or not) through online accessible registries.
    8. Return to certification of closure plans by the Ministry of the Environment (and First Nations governments)
    9. Institute a fund for the cost of reclaiming all abandoned and orphaned mines in Ontario paid for through a levy on the gross production of operating mines and smelters. [5]
    10. Development of long-term funded community -diversification plans in mining-affected communities
    11. Increase regulatory oversight of operating mines in Ontario, including provisions for paid community-based monitoring of operating and closed mines[6].
  • Securities law.
    1. Require mining companies to fully disclose liability for potential catastrophic tailings dam failures and perpetual care of mine sites in their financial statements and their filings with the Securities Commission
    2. Increase the penalties for mining companies that fail to comply with securities regulations and policies [7]
  • Ensure that mining pays its way
    1. Revision of the tax regime for mining. Change the Mining Tax to a Net Smelter Return royalty; end the remote areas tax holiday; bring the Marginal Effective Tax and Royalty Rate (METRR) into line with other sectors[8].
    2. Conduct a “Value for Money” audit of provincial investment in mining based on the full costs and benefits to the public of supporting mining in Ontario including reduced hydro rates, infrastructure and training spending, geoscience and research investment, and actual dollars collected from the mining tax, the diamond royalty, sales tax and corporate income tax.
    3. Stop subsidizing an industry where neither the resources nor the profits stay in Ontario:
    4. End the electricity rate subsidy for mining companies
    5. Enact Phase 2 of regulation 450/07, the Permit to Take Water so that mining companies pay for the water they take.
    6. Increase the resources for environmentally sustainable economic and social development programs in First Nations and mining affected communities.

References

[1] See Mining Act, Part II.

[2] Chetkiewicz, Cheryl and Anastasia M. Lintner. Getting It Right in Ontario’s Far North. Wildlife Conservation Society and Ecojustice. May 2104.

[3] Dr. Norbert R. Morgenstern (Chair), CM, AOE, FRSC, FCAE, Ph.D., P.Eng.; Mr. Steven G. Vick, M.Sc., P.E.; and, Dr. Dirk Van Zyl, Ph.D., P.E., P.Eng. Report on Mount Polley Tailings Storage Facility Breach, Independent Expert Engineering Investigation and Review Panel, Province of British Columbia, January 30, 2015. BC has indicated they will accept all the report recommendations.

[4] Cowan, Dick and John Robertson. The Policy Framework in Canada for Mine Closure and Management of Long Term Liabilities: A guidance Document. 2010. National Orphaned and Abandoned Mines Initiative. www.abandoned-mines.org

[5] GAO, 2005. Hardrock mining: BLM Needs to Better Manage Financial Assurances to Guarantee Coverage of Reclamation Costs. Report to the Ranking Minority Member. GAO-05-377, June 2005. www.gao.gov/cgi-bin/getrpt?GAO-05-377.

[6] Affolder, Natasha, Katy Allen and Sascha Paruk.  Independent  Environmental  Oversight: A Report for the Giant Mine Remediation Environmental Assessment. February 2011.

[7] OSC staff report on compliance with NI 43-101. http://www.osc.gov.on.ca/documents/en/Securities-Category1/sn_20130627_43-705_rpt-tech-rpt-mining-issuers.pdf

[8]  Mintz, Jack and Duanjie Chen. Marginal Effective Tax and Royalty Rates (METRRS)for the Mining Industry after 2013 budget change are fully implemented. May 2103. The School of Public Policy. University of Calgary. It shows the METRR for Ontario at 2%. The only province with a lower rate is BC at minus 8.7%. The rate for the non-resource sector is 18.2%

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