The Ministry of Energy, Northern Development and Mines just wrapped up an open public consultation to help develop Ontario’s first-ever critical minerals strategy.
The Ministry’s discussion paper focused on five areas:
- Supporting partnership opportunities with Indigenous peoples
- Finalizing an Ontario critical minerals list
- Enhancing investment in mineral exploration and development
- Regulatory and policy reform
- Supply chain and manufacturing opportunities
Through April and May, OSPE members came together to provide recommendations on this file, which included calls to:
- Increase Ontario’s technical innovation capacity so it becomes a global leader in critical minerals
- Develop a supply chain that is diverse and inclusive by establishing social procurement programs that ensure companies led by women and equity-seeking groups are provided with access to public procurement opportunities
- Support consultation and partnership opportunities with Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous businesses through the design, construction, operation and manufacturing stages
- Ensure the critical minerals development and exploration in Ontario is a sustainable practice and vertically integrated along the supply chain
- Encourage product designs that facilitate recycling and reclamation
- Adopt Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) for the procurement of engineering services
- Appropriately define and provide criteria for what “responsibly produced” means
- Develop programs that focus on the alternative use of “waste streams” and “post-closure” assets to support environmental stewardship and sustainability
Pierre Labrecque, P.Eng., was one of the OSPE members involved in the Critical Minerals Working Group. OSPE asked him some questions about his career in mining and involvement with advocacy for the profession.
Why was contributing to Ontario’s Critical Minerals Framework important to you as an engineer?
The trends indicate that demands for critical minerals will continue to increase in the next number of years and Ontario is in a great position to ramp up the supply of critical minerals and also the manufacturing of emerging products and technologies that depend on critical minerals. It was important for me to become involved in developing a framework to ensure Ontario is in the best position possible to take advantage of this growing demand.
What is your hope for the future of the mining industry in Ontario?
The hope is that the mining industry will continue to grow in Ontario and that many new mines will be able to go into production in the next decade solidifying Ontario as world leader in minerals extraction and production.
How has a career in mining been fulfilling to you as an engineer?
My career in mining has been very fulfilling as an engineer because every new project that I work on presents new challenges and opportunities to acquire skills and knowledge. Meeting new engineers and collaborating has always provided an opportunity to grow my network and learning opportunities.
Do you feel it is important that engineers get involved in advocacy?
Yes, it is very important for engineers to get involved with advocacy so that we can ensure there will be engineering jobs in Ontario for new graduates and to ensure that our industry maintains the highest level of professionalism.
I am an OSPE member because….
I am an OSPE member because I want to continue to support the collaborative work that OSPE does with the government, industry, universities, and colleges.