Michael Gravelle, Minister of Northern Development and Mines Gives Inaugural Address
by Scott A. Sumner
Minister Michael Gravelle spoke to a business audience recently on many topics current on his plate as returning Minister of Northern Development and Mines. His health “ I am feeling very well and blessed that I have been able to to get through the treatments that have been prescribed for me with very few side effects and my energy level in tact. I am pretty much going full out but I feel well. I had my 6th chemo treatment a week ago and have been very busy since then. Many people, including my doctor think being so busy has been good for me. I am enjoying the fact that I can work full out and come back to this Ministry.” Mining in Ontario “ The excitement of the mining development in the province of Ontario is high. Some of the junior exploration companies are going through a challenging time but the real story is we have had three mines opening up this past year in the North and more in the upcoming two years not even speaking about the Ring of Fire development. If I have learned anything in the mining area is the industry is cyclical but the opportunities are still there. My focus is on the Ring of Fire with my meetings with Minister Tony Clement and a significant meeting with the Mattawa chiefs was also clearly as an historic opportunity to move forward on the file. In 2011 we saw $1 billion of mineral exploration happen in the province of Ontario and unofficially in 2012 it will be $900 million which is good.” “ I sat down with Cliffs at the recent mining conference in Toronto and certainly we are keen to get together and get this deal done on infrastructure. The meeting with the Mattawa Chiefs was important as well as the discussions with colleges for training. There are so many pieces important to this moving forward.”
Exploration Mining Issues “ We want to work with the exploration companies to discuss opportunities. Tough decisions will have to be made but it does not diminish the exciting mining opportunities in Ontario. We are trying to put forward legislation to make Ontario an good mining climate by modernizing the Mining Act particularly as it related to consultation. We want to make things more attractive as an investment climate.
The Next Ontario Budget “Our next budget will reflect the priorities of our government including the Ring of Fire opportunities. Our government focus is new jobs and an acknowledge of the importance of the North in our provincial economy. Premier Wynn believes in developing a strong Northern economy. We had a ministers meeting last weekend in Sault Ste Marie which went well. The Northern Ontario Growth Plan will help to make us a globally competitive economy. It is the blue print for the next 25 years in Northern Ontario and I am committed to see it implemented. “
Northern Highways “The Northern Highways program is crucial to safety and to enhance the quality of life of Northern Ontario. We will be putting out a release on the tender for the bridge which is a huge part of the 4 laning project. Our government is reenergized and a strong north is crucial. We are going to make this work.”