Ministry overview

Ministry’s vision

The Ministry of Mines (MINES) supports a strong and sustainable minerals sector and ensures the fair, effective and efficient administration of Ontario’s Mining Act for the protection of public health and safety, and the environment.

Ministry programs

The Ministry of Mines carries out its mandate under two activities:

  • Ministry Administration
  • Mines and Minerals Program

Ministry administration program

Ministry Administration Program provides executive direction and strategic business and resource planning services which is integral to effective and efficient ministry operations. Advice and services in the areas of strategic human resources planning and management; fiscal controllership and financial governance. The program provides core strategic support in the areas of corporate/strategic policy, supply chain management, records and information management, communications (including French Language Services), and the administration of the Freedom of Information and Privacy Protection Act. Professional support services such as legal and audit services are supported by this program.

The program measures success and achievements against performance indicators to ensure the ministry is meeting legal obligations to offer services in French, has a complete and updated emergency management program, and that opportunities to increase administrative efficiencies are being implemented.

Mines and Minerals program

The Ministry supports a strong and sustainable minerals sector by promoting investment and exploration, by providing information to global clients on Ontario’s wealth of mineral resources, and by the fair, effective and efficient administration of Ontario’s Mining Act, in a manner consistent with the recognition and affirmation of existing Aboriginal and treaty rights in section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and, protection of public health and safety, and the environment.

Regulatory administration of the Mining Act

The Ministry administers the Mining Act through regulatory tools that promote and sustain mineral exploration and mining in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.

As part of this mandate, the Ministry has transformed and modernized mineral tenure administration in Ontario by implementing an integrated, client-driven electronic system that enables clients to register mining claims and manage these claims online. This ensures mineral exploration and development in Ontario is undertaken in a manner that promotes a balanced approach that benefits all Ontarians, while registering claims in a manner that is respectful of private landowners and Indigenous communities. The system continues to be updated and improved in response to stakeholder feedback.

The Ministry also invests in the rehabilitation of abandoned mine sites on Crown-held lands to ensure public safety, improve the environment, and make the lands available for productive use.

The Ministry is in the process of reviewing and updating the One Window Co-ordination Protocol (OWCP) to ensure continued effective and efficient processes for co-ordination and delivery of environmental assessments, permitting and approvals across provincial ministries and with the federal government.

Geoscience information

The Ontario Geological Survey (OGS) collects and disseminates geoscience information for all regions across Ontario to support investment decisions and policy development related to mineral exploration and development, public health and safety, the environment and land use planning. Geoscience products and services support economic development through source water protection, mineral, energy and groundwater-resource related development opportunities, land use planning, and safeguarding public health and safety related to geological hazards.

Mineral development investment and opportunity

The Mineral Development Investment and Opportunity program ensures Ontario receives a fair share of the value of mineral resources extracted from the province, identifies strategic investment opportunities, and influences policy issues that support Ontario’s mineral competitiveness.

Indigenous relations

This program encourages and facilitates Indigenous participation in Ontario’s economy in a way that recognizes and is respectful of Aboriginal rights and culture. The program develops and sustains productive and effective relationships among government, Indigenous communities, industry, municipalities, and other partners. Key activities include working with Indigenous Peoples to build partnerships that enable participation in the benefits from mineral exploration and development.

Ring of Fire — Infrastructure development

Development of the mineral potential in the Ring of Fire is being driven by key activities including building partnerships with First Nation communities that enable participation in the economic benefits from mineral and related developments in the Ring of Fire area and supporting industry and other stakeholders with interests in the area including activities related to mineral exploration and development. and advancing infrastructure development, such as all-season roads and broadband. The Ministry continues to leverage federal, provincial, and industrial partnerships to enable the planning and implementation of infrastructure assets such as all-season roads and broadband.

2023-24 Strategic plan

The ministry’s strategic plan contains clearly focused long-term goals and desired strategic outcomes that will guide MINES and focus efforts to advance the achievement of our mandate priorities.

MINES is committed to supporting a strong and sustainable mineral sector and the fair, effective and efficient administration of Ontario’s Mining Act. MINES continues to use evidence-based decision-making throughout its strategic planning and priority setting. As a result of these efforts, the ministry is improving its ability to measure its performance more accurately in achieving outcomes and value-for-money.

Ministry core commitments and key deliverables

As the ministry for the provincial minerals sector, MINES strives to support Ontario’s economic prosperity, environmental sustainability, and quality of life for the people of Ontario. MINES promotes economic growth and job creation by assisting the mines and minerals sector; conducts monitoring, research and planning for the management and use of Ontario’s mineral resources; and develops legislation, policies, and programs to regulate the sustainable and responsible use and management of Ontario’s mineral resources.

MINES supports a safe and sustainable minerals industry by promoting minerals sector exploration and investment. This includes collecting and distributing geoscience information, encouraging, and facilitating Indigenous participation in the minerals sector, administering Ontario’s Mining Act, and ensuring safe, environmentally sound mineral development and rehabilitation of mining lands.

MINES continues to deliver the Critical Minerals Strategy with a goal to elevate and secure Ontario’s place as a globally competitive jurisdiction that is ready to meet increasing global demand for critical minerals by connecting Ontario’s abundant critical minerals deposits with our world-class manufacturing sector.

MINES continues to work with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (MNRF) to lead the implementation of Resource Revenue Sharing; enabling Indigenous communities to share in the economic benefits of resource development while advancing reconciliation, improving relations on a government-to-government basis, improving the economic and planning climate and providing funding that can support local economic and social priorities.

As the lead ministry responsible for development in the Ring of Fire, MINES engages and collaborates with Indigenous Peoples and communities, northerners, the mining industry, federal departments, and other provincial ministries to encourage responsible and sustainable development. Located more than 500 kilometers northeast of Thunder Bay, the Ring of Fire is one of the most significant mineral discoveries in the province.

MINES is undertaking an integrated, intergovernmental co-ordination and planning approach to advance the development of strategic transportation and community access and connectivity infrastructure in the Ring of Fire region in an environmentally responsible way.

Key Mines and Minerals program initiatives in 2023–24 include:

  • to promote economic growth and job creation by supporting the mines and minerals sector
  • to conduct monitoring, research, and planning for the management and use of Ontario’s mineral resources
  • to develop and implement legislation, policies, and programs to regulate the sustainable and responsible use and management of Ontario’s mineral resources
  • to continue to support the Critical Mineral Strategy and advance the Ring of Fire to make Ontario a Leading Mining jurisdiction
  • to continue to work with MNRF and Ministry of Indigenous Affairs to expand Resource Revenue Sharing with Indigenous communities
  • to position Ontario as the #1 jurisdiction in mineral development, MINES is undertaking improvements in permitting and assessment work processes
  • to position Ontario as the #1 jurisdiction in mineral development, MINES is undertaking reforms under the Mining Act through Bill 71 - Building More Mines Act, 2023 and its associated regulations to respond to increasing complexities related to meeting the duty to consult, and address feedback from industry to improve timeliness and flexibility

Detailed financial information

Ministry planned expenditures 2022–23
Cost typeMinistry planned expenditures ($M)
Operating158.6
Capital13.7
Total172.3

Ministry distribution of 2022–23 operating expense allocation by vote/item/sub-item

Ministry administration

4%

Mines and Minerals Program

96%
Ministry planned operating expenditures by vote/item/sub-item 2022–23
Activity nameMinistry planned expenditures ($M)
Ministry administration program6.1
Mines and minerals program166.2
Total planned expenditures by vote/item/sub-item172.3

Combined operating and capital summary by vote

Operating expense
Votes/programsEstimates 2023–24 $Changes from estimates 2022–2023 $Change %Estimates 2022–23footnote 1 $Interim actuals 2022–23footnote 1 $Actuals 2021–22footnote 1 $
Ministry administration program6,009,200(43,600)(0.7)6,052,8006,934,0005,530,509
Mines and minerals program155,410,30030,581,10024.5124,829,200146,349,700129,941,038
Total operating expense to be voted161,419,50030,537,50023.3130,882,000153,283,700135,471,547
Statutory appropriations466,01465,01416.2401,000401,00055,903
Ministry total operating expense161,885,51430,602,51423.3131,283,000153,684,700135,527,450
Consolidation and other adjustments — Ontario Clean Water AgencyN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A(3,348,991)
Consolidation and other adjustments — General Real Estate Portfolio(3,287,000)(291,200)N/A(2,995,800)N/A(3,094,512)
Total including consolidation and other adjustments158,598,51430,311,31423.6128,287,200153,684,700129,083,947
Operating assets
Votes/programsEstimates 2023–24 $Changes from estimates 2022–2023 $Change %Estimates 2022–23footnote 1 $Interim actuals 2022–23footnote 1 $Actuals 2021–22footnote 1 $
Ministry administration program1,0001,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Mines and minerals program1,000N/AN/A1,000N/AN/A
Total operating asset to be voted2,0001,0001001,000N/AN/A
Ministry total operating assets2,0001,0001001,000N/AN/A
Capital expense
Votes/programsEstimates 2023–24 $Changes from estimates 2022–2023 $Change %Estimates 2022–23footnote 1 $Interim actuals 2022–23footnote 1 $Actuals 2021–22footnote 1 $
Ministry administration program1,0001,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Mines and minerals program14,014,5003,088,80028310,925,700109,088,600189,884,312
Total capital expense to be voted14,015,5003,089,8002810,925,700109,088,600189,884,312
Statutory appropriations639,50072,20012.7567,300567,300515,808
Ministry total capital expense14,655,0003,162,00027.511,493,000109,655,900190,400,120
Consolidation and other adjustments — General Real Estate Portfolio(993,600)(993,600)N/AN/AN/A(1,024,988)
Total including consolidation and other adjustments13,661,4002,168,4001911,493,000109,655,900189,375,132
Capital assets
Votes/programsEstimates 2023–24 $Changes from estimates 2022–2023 $Change %Estimates 2022–23footnote 1 $Interim actuals 2022–23footnote 1 $Actuals 2021–22footnote 1 $
Ministry administration program1,0001,000N/AN/AN/AN/A
Mines and minerals program601,000(199,000)(24.9)800,000N/A455,433
Total capital assets to be voted602,000(198,000)(24.8)800,000N/A455,433
Ministry total capital assets602,000(198,000)(24.8)800,000N/A455,433
Ministry total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)172,259,91432,479,71423.2139,780,200263,340,600318,459,079
Historic trend analysis
Historic trend analysis dataActuals 2020-21footnote 2 $Actuals 2021–22footnote 2 $Estimates 2022–23footnote 2 $Estimates 2023–243footnote 2 $
Ministry total operating and capital including consolidation and other adjustments (not including assets)85,502,488314,459,079139,780,200172,259,914
Percent changeN/A272%-56%23%

Ministry organization chart

  • Minister — Mines
    • Parliamentary Assistant
    • Deputy Minister
      • Legal Services Branch
      • Information Technology Services
      • Communications Services Branch
      • Corporate Management Division (supporting the Ministry of Northern Development and the Ministry of Mines)
        • Financial Planning and Controllership
        • Strategic Human Resources Business Branch
      • Mines and Minerals Division
        • Ontario Geological Survey
        • Indigenous Consultation and Partnerships Branch
        • Strategic Services Branch
        • Mineral Development Branch
        • Information and Lands Branch
      • Strategic Policy Division
        • Ring of Fire Policy Coordination
        • Corporate Policy Secretariat (supporting the Ministry of Northern Development and the Ministry of Mines)

Download printer-friendly organizational chart

Appendix: 2022–23 Annual report

Support a strong and sustainable mineral development sector

Mineral development has long been a driver of growth for Ontario and will continue to play a key role in building Ontario’s economy for today and tomorrow. Ontario is a world-class mining jurisdiction and is among the top 10 jurisdictions in the world for mineral exploration spending. In 2022, Ontario was number one in Canada for mineral exploration expenditures totalling $989 million, making up roughly 24 per cent of all mineral exploration expenditures in Canada. Ontario is one of Canada’s top mineral producers, generating $13.5 billion worth of minerals in 2022, which accounts for 22 per cent of the country’s total mineral production value. Ontario’s mining sector, one of the nation’s largest producers of minerals by value, contributes about $12.9 billion to Ontario’s GDP annually. Mining in Ontario supports approximately 29,000 direct jobs and 46,000 indirect jobs associated with mineral processing and mining supply and services. Ontario’s mining sector has one of the highest proportions of Indigenous workers of all industries, at nine per cent.

Toronto continues to be the mining finance capital of the world — 36 per cent of all global mining equity capital raised over the period of 2018 to 2022 came from the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and Toronto Venture Exchange (TSXV). More than 1,150 mining companies were listed on the TSX and TSXV in 2022, approximately 40 per cent of public mining companies in the world. In 2022, the TSX and TSXV raised $7.6 billion in new equity capital for mining. Capital investment in mining in Ontario has increased from $1.3 billion in 2010 to $4 billion in 2022.

There are about 200 companies actively exploring more than 300 projects in Ontario. In 2022, there were more than 344,000 active mining claims in Ontario. There are currently 35 active mining operations in Ontario, the majority of which are in Northern Ontario.

New mine construction is underway at five projects in Ontario. These projects include IAMGOLD’s $2.5 billion Côté Gold project near Gogama, Argonaut’s $422 million Magino gold project near Dubreuilville, Gowest’s $27 million Bradshaw gold project near Timmins, Greenstone Gold’s $1.5 billion Greenstone gold project near Geraldton, and Glencore’s $1.3 billion Onaping Depth nickel-copper project in Sudbury.

In addition, in October 2022, Vale Canada completed the first phase of its $945 million Copper Cliff Complex mine expansion project in Sudbury.

In March 2022, Ontario released its first-ever Critical Minerals Strategy — a comprehensive, five-year blueprint to strengthen Ontario’s position as a global leader in supplying critical minerals. Ontario’s Critical Minerals Strategy is helping secure the province’s position as a reliable global supplier and processor of responsibly sourced critical minerals. Advancing Ontario’s Critical Minerals Strategy supports better supply chain connections between industries, resources and workers in Northern Ontario and manufacturing in Southern Ontario, including Ontario-based electric vehicle (EV) and battery manufacturing. The strategy will help Ontario companies tap into new and growing markets and secure Ontario’s place in the global supply chain, while supporting the transition to a sustainable global economy. The commitments in the strategy will help Ontario boost the resiliency of its supply chains, expand innovation, and increase our exploration capacity. The strategy is already starting to pay dividends. The value of critical minerals exploration expenditures grew by $84 million in 2022 and totaled $328 million — an increase of almost 35 per cent over 2021.

An important commitment in the Critical Minerals Strategy was the launch of the Critical Minerals Innovation Fund (CMIF) on November 24, 2022. Through this fund, the Ontario government continues to invest in the critical minerals sector and enhance research and development of new technologies. The CMIF connects critical minerals producers in the north with the manufacturing sector in the south to support innovative technologies, such as batteries and electric vehicles. The $5 million fund is supporting 13 Ontario-based companies that are leading the development of new mining technologies focused on building the critical minerals supply chain. These companies are doing ground-breaking work to solve challenges in exploration, mining, and processing.

As a result of the recently completed expansion of the Resource Revenue Sharing (RRS) Program in April 2022, Ontario currently has six RRS agreements representing 40 First Nations, and two RRS agreements with organizations representing Métis communities. RRS Program expansion also added sharing of aggregate royalties to the forestry and mining revenues covered by the 2018 agreements. Funding is designed to be flexible, and recipients can use RRS funds for a variety of objectives, including economic development, community development and education. For example, First Nations have used funding to hire staff to help with economic development, to create lots for community housing and to build other community infrastructure. The payments are made every December and are based on revenue collected in the previous fiscal year. To date, Ontario has shared approximately $194 million in resource revenues through these agreements, including $89 million from mining tax and royalty.

Early exploration is key to making promising geological discoveries that can lead to future mines and positioning Ontario to meet increasing global demand for critical minerals. That is why the government is continuing to invest in the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP), which began in 2021. OJEP helps junior mining companies finance early exploration projects by covering up to $200,000 in eligible costs for critical and precious mineral exploration and development. The government is investing an additional $3 million in 2023–24 and $3 million in 2024–25 into this successful program, which will help more companies search for potential mineral deposits and attract further investment in this growing sector. With this new funding, the total committed investment in OJEP is $35 million, including a $12 million critical minerals stream.

To help seize the economic potential of the province’s minerals, and to support the geopolitical need to secure the critical minerals that support the made-in-Ontario supply chain for new technologies like batteries and electric vehicles, Ontario introduced legislation on March 2, 2023, to amend the Mining Act. If passed, the Building More Mines Act, 2023 would ensure Ontario has a modern and competitive regime for mineral exploration and development. The proposed amendments aim to save companies time and money by reducing administrative burden, clarifying requirements for rehabilitation, and creating regulatory efficiencies.

These proposed legislative and regulatory amendments will help Ontario attract mining investments to support the unlocking of critical minerals, including those in the Ring of Fire, while maintaining Ontario’s strong standards for environmental protection and meeting the Duty to Consult with Indigenous communities. These critical mineral resources in the north are being connected to Ontario’s world-class manufacturing sector in the south.

The Ontario government has committed close to $1 billion to support critical legacy infrastructure such as all-season roads, broadband connectivity and community supports in the Ring of Fire region to keep moving forward on one of the most promising mineral deposits in Canada — one that will play a critical role in the manufacturing of batteries, electronics, electric vehicles (EVs) and other technologies. Marten Falls and Webequie First Nations are leading the planning of the proposed road projects in the Ring of Fire region. As the project proponents, the two First Nations are taking responsibility for thoroughly assessing potential impacts to Aboriginal and treaty rights and interests and maximizing opportunities for First Nations people. Ontario is committed to working with First Nation communities, supporting them to reach their goals, including all-season road access to their communities and the Ring of Fire, and meeting its duty to consult.

Ministry performance measures
Existing performance measureas2020–2021 acheivement2021–2022 acheivement2022–2023 target2023–2024 target
% of ROF all-season road development projects with annual progress rating of medium to high in Phase 1 — Planning and EA Phase (2019–ongoing)100100100100
Ontario’s percentage of Canadian market share of exploration expenditures (MMD)23.827.226.523.0
Capital investment in mining in Ontario (MMD) ($B)2.12.12.52.5
% completion of Emergency Management Program Legislative requirements100100100100
Ministry interim actual expenditures 2022–23
Cost typeMinistry interim actual expenditures ($M) 2022–23footnote 3
COVID–19 approvals0.0
Other operating153.7
Other capital109.8
Staff strengthfootnote 4 (as of March 31, 2023)299.81

For additional financial information, see:

Who to call

For questions or comments, please contact:

Office of the Minister of Mines
Whitney Block, Room 5520
99 Wellesley Street West
Toronto, Ontario
M7A 1W3
Phone: 1-888-415-9845

Further information about the ministry and its programs can be found on the ministry’s website.

We are committed to providing accessible customer service. If you need accessible formats or communications supports, please contact Marc.StLouis@ontario.ca