Digging Deep Into the Ontario Mining Industry
Ontario has a thriving mining industry, with the province producing the most gold, platinum, nickel, and group metals in Canada. It’s also the world’s second-largest copper producer.
Approximately two-thirds of these mines are located in the province’s northern regions. The remaining mines in Ontario are mostly in the southern region of the province and produce minerals like silica, gypsum, talc, and salt.
Depending on the type of ore and its location, mines in Ontario are either open pit or underground. Underground mining is utilised for deeper, concentrated resources, whereas open pit mining is used for huge, low-grade mineral deposits near to the surface. Because the cost per tonne of ore mined is lower than that of underground mining, open pit mining is used to remove ore deposits that are close to the surface. Open pit miners create a wider area of surface disruption and produce far more waste rock.
Waste rock is rock found at a mine site that lacks useful or marketable concentrations of the intended mineral(s). Blasting the removal of waste rock allows valuable mineral rocks (ore) to be reached. In subterranean mines, ore is extracted via shafts, ramps, and other underground infrastructure, and the waste rock to ore ratio is typically significantly lower.
The entire amount of waste rock produced depends on the project’s size, although mid-sized projects often produce several hundred million tonnes of waste rock. The Kidd Mine near Timmins, Ontario, has both open pit and deep underground operations—it’s the world’s deepest mine.
Life Span of a Mine
In Canada, the average mine’s operating life duration is 15 to 20 years. However, the complete process of establishing and closing a mine can take hundreds of years.
All mines have one thing in common: output will cease at some point, regardless of how long they operate. Many mines have been abandoned in the past without being properly reclaimed. Companies are now required by the government to establish mine closure plans. The purpose of a mine closure plan is to return a mine to a safe, environmentally sound, and productive state as much as feasible by removing structures, grading roads, and planting plants on the mine site. Depending on the nature of the shutdown, each strategy will be unique.
What is the biggest mine in Ontario?
Compass Minerals’ Goderich salt mine, located 1,800 feet under Lake Huron, is the largest underground salt mine in the world. The mine is as deep as the CN Tower in Toronto is tall. It has operated since 1959 and was acquired by Compass Minerals in 1990.
The Ring of Fire
One of the most carbon-rich peatlands on the planet is located around 500 kilometres north of Thunder Bay, Ontario. The Hudson Bay Lowlands, or “breathing lands” to local First Nations, are a waterlogged environment of lakes, ponds, and rivers coated in moss.
However, the area has been associated with the Ring of Fire mining boom, in addition to its significance as a massive carbon reserve.
The Ring of Fire region of Ontario is one of the province’s most potential mining development opportunities for essential minerals. It is around 500 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay and covers approximately 5,000 square kilometres.
The region has long-term potential to produce:
These essential minerals are important for the future of low- and zero-emission cars and transportation, as well as the transition to a cleaner, more sustainable global economy.
Hercules SLR have 4 branch locations in Ontario, and we are a provider of equipment and services to the mining industry. From Fall Protection, shovel cables, sheaves, hoists to inspection and repairs on and off site.
For all your rigging enquiries, please give our experts a call: 1 (877) 461-4876
Our Ontario branches are located in Brampton, Hamilton, Sarnia and Sudbury.