The Ford government wants to speed up the granting of mining permits

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The Ford government wants to speed up the granting of mining permits

The Ford government has put in place an ambitious strategy for the exploitation of critical minerals.

The Doug Ford government wants to step up a gear in the granting of mineral permits. exploitation of critical minerals. A bill governing the approval of mining projects was tabled on Thursday, with the aim of stimulating the extraction of minerals used in the manufacture of batteries for electric vehicles and telecommunications in particular.

Mines Minister George Pirie said that for him it is about securing the supply chain for these critical minerals, and criticized the deadlines in effect today.

“If it takes 15 years to get a license to operate, you can't do it.

—George Pirie, Ontario Minister of Mines

Cobalt, lithium, nickel and platinum are among these so-called critical minerals and have seen their global demand explode in recent years. That's a windfall of $11 billion a year. China and the Democratic Republic of Congo are among the main exporters.

These minerals are essential raw materials for high-tech industries, but also the electric vehicle industry, which Ontario hopes to capture investment.

For Minister Pirie, this is an opportunity not to be missed. We have the critical minerals in northern Ontario and the production capacity in the south.

One ​​of the levers of this acceleration will be to simplify mine closure plans. For now, mining companies applying to open a mine must accompany it with a closure plan. Once the change is enacted, businesses will be able to begin based on a conditional closure plan.

The government ensures that the obligation to consult the indigenous communities will not be called into question, and that the environmental requirements will not be relaxed.

What doubts Mark Winfield, professor of environment and Urban Changes at York University, which ensures that mining companies already benefit from exemptions to accelerate their application.

In an email to CBC, he says special care needs to be taken about the terms of liability exemptions for mine closures and cleanups.

The public will be able to provide feedback on proposed changes until mid-April.

This bill is part of a broader strategy put in place by the Ford government since March 2022. The federal government followed suit in December of the same year.

The announcement comes just days before one of the world's biggest industry events: the annual conference of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada ( ACPE) taking place in Toronto from March 5-8.

The Ford government's auto strategy calls for building 400,000 electric and hybrid vehicles a year by 2030 , powered by locally made batteries and with minerals mined from the north of the province.

With information from CBC's Mike Crawley

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