Originally Published in the March 1989 issue of The Outfitter Magazine.
In early December, the Minister of Mines, the Hon. Sean Conway, released a long awaited Green Paper on Ontario’s Mines and Minerals Policy and Legislation. This paper will form the basis for revisions to the 1906 Mining Act.
The NOTO association has responded to the Green Paper and is seeking a meeting with the Ministry staff to discuss the implications of this document on the tourism industry.
The Green Paper is designed to air a number of policy positions that the Ministry would like to see adopted. The paper, as a whole, is extremely beneficial to the mining industry, but fails to address some very real issues that relate to non-mining industry interests that are affected by the Act.
In particular, it would appear that no attempt has been made to integrate mining exploration and development activities with other crown land interests. As an industry that is impacted by all other crown land uses, NOTO advocates the full integration of all activities to achieve optimum crown land policies.
The mining industry is the one major industrial sector that, currently, is not integrated. This oversight should be rectified in any amendments to existing mining legislation.
As well, the Association has raised a number of concerns that it feels must be addressed. These pertain primarily to prospecting activities. The chances of mining exploration activities yielding an economic mine may be as small as one in 1000. With such a high likelihood of failure, this association feels that it is absolutely imperative that under no circumstances should exploration activity be allowed to unduly disrupt existing tourist operations. Moreover, after exploration has ceased, all evidence of activities, especially access points and aesthetic damage must be eliminated. While the industry does not object to exploration activities being carried out in a sound manner, tourist operators will attest to some long term damage that has inadvertently occurred as a result of these activities.
The association also raised concerns about the desire of the government to establish a self regulatory body, without consideration of ensuring that this body has sufficient powers to regulate the activities of the industry.
Finally, NOTO discussed the need to protect the interest of tourist operators who have been adversely affected by either mining exploration activity or by the impending development of a mine.
The Association would like to see the tourism industry be fully consulted on all exploration and development activities in areas utilized by tourism. Moreover, it feels that some set of exploration guidelines, designed to minimize the potential for conflict, would be extremely beneficial.