“Learn the past, watch the present, and create the future.”
Ontario has been one of the world’s foremost mineral producers for over a century. And yet, as far as editorial themes go, “Mining in Ontario” is a challenging one. The geographical area may be clearly defined, but the nature of the mining industry in the vast province defies any neat summary. Ontario is the repository for more than 30 different metal and nonmetal mineral products, including gold, nickel, copper, zinc, platinum, palladium, cobalt, silver and diamonds. Each of these commodities represents an industry in its own right, with unique challenges and market sensitivities.
Despite these many different threads, as the stories were filed and the editorial unfolded, it became apparent that there were indeed some common patterns shared by these industries that help explain mining’s longevity and success in the province. Among these templates is a strong connection to the past and its hard-won lessons. This firm footing is balanced by the imperative to remain sharp-eyed and agile, aware of the opportunities afforded by innovation and ingenuity.
Base metals were hit particularly hard by the recession. However, operators and suppliers in the Nickel Belt have responded by channelling the resilience born of a mining legacy that spans more than 100 years. Shafts are being sunk deeper, mills and refineries are becoming more efficient and equipment is being adapted and improved, all in an effort to weather the latest in a long history of market fluctuations.
The luster of gold — an industry “old-timer” — is as bright as ever. However, a century later, Ontario gold miners and developers continue to polish how they extract it, utilizing revolutionary drilling methods to increase current and future gold production. Even the relative new kid on the commodity block, the province’s flourishing diamond industry, is drawing upon the experiences of industry counterparts in the Northwest Territories to find creative new ways to reap more rewards from the global diamond pipeline.
Despite the many and disparate stories in the chronicle of Ontario mining, the bedrock of this stalwart industry endures: show respect for those who came before, learn from one another now for the benefit of all, and always keep that prospector’s eye trained on the possibilities of tomorrow.