NORTH BAY — While on the campaign trail, Vic Fedeli, the Ontario PC candidate for Nipissing, says he has been delivering the same message to the owners of area mining companies in anticipation of a continued boom in electric vehicle and ancillary investments in the north: they had better be prepared for growth.
He repeated that message, Tuesday, at North Bay's J&J Machine Works where he met with Andy Walker, the company's president.
"What it means for North Bay and Nipissing is local mining companies — like J&J — that manufacture those products for the mining sector, I'm saying to all of them: 'Get ready to double your size,' because this is right at our fingertips, right now. Seize that moment, be part of the revolution, this is your chance to grow. We know this is a real opportunity. Those minerals are going to be mined somewhere in the world."
Canada is the only country in the Western Hemisphere with all the raw materials required for a lithium-ion battery, with Northern Ontario producing graphite, cobalt, lithium, nickel, and other required minerals. The aptly-named town of Cobalt is home to North America’s only permitted cobalt refinery, and Canada is the number one producer of nickel in North America, with approximately 40 per cent of all nickel coming from Ontario. Our mines and refineries have been key suppliers of Class-1 nickel for decades.
Fedeli says northern Ontario is poised to grow from this electric vehicle revolution and notes the recent $14 billion in electric vehicle investments announced by Ontario’s major auto manufacturers positions Northern Ontario at the centre of the EV revolution. Fedeli adds this shows Ontario has the necessary components and competitive environment needed for EV development and production.
“All those mine sites need exploration and production equipment and consumables. And that’s right where Nipissing fits in. We have 66 mining and machinery companies located in our area, and each is poised to expand to accommodate the spectacular growth coming from the EV sector,” says Fedeli.
“Elon Musk’s recent announcement that nickel from Vale’s Sudbury and Labrador facilities will be used in the manufacture of Tesla electric vehicle batteries should shine a light on just how important Northern Ontario is about to be to this EV revolution,” Fedeli adds.
All EV batteries are going to need tonnes of critical minerals, and Ontario’s Critical Mineral Strategy provides the right supports to position Ontario as a global leader in supplying critical minerals for electric and hybrid vehicle manufacturing.
Ontario has committed $1 billion to support all-season roads to the Ring of Fire, Fedeli advises, and this is the final piece of critical road infrastructure needed to ensure reliable, all-season road access to potential mining sites in the Ring of Fire, and connect First Nations communities to Ontario’s highway network.
Furthermore, a new $5-million Critical Minerals Innovation Fund will support the mining industry, academia, start-ups, and R&D firms to find innovative solutions for the extraction and processing of critical minerals.
Over $12 million is being provided to extend the Ontario Junior Mining Exploration Program, attracting further investment and creating opportunities and jobs in this growing sector. And a further $12 million to create a new Critical Minerals Stream of OJEP, to ensure there’s a focus on critical minerals in addition to precious metals. And, the Regional Opportunities Investments Tax Credit has been extended to the end of 2023, giving businesses in the north a 20 per cent tax credit on capital projects.