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Ontario Investing in the Critical Minerals Supply Chain

April 25, 2024

Ontario Investing in the Critical Minerals Supply Chain

Funding for junior mining companies creating jobs in the north

The Ontario government is investing over $4 million to help junior mining companies find the mines that will fuel the electric vehicle revolution. Funding through the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP) is part of the province’s Critical Minerals Strategy to drive long-term economic growth by creating jobs and prosperity, especially in northern and Indigenous communities.

“I am thrilled to be in Thunder Bay at the Ontario Prospectors Exploration Showcase to announce the successful OJEP recipients because it means the drills are turning and we are searching for new mines,” said George Pirie, Minister of Mines. “Our government recognizes that Thunder Bay is quickly becoming a hub for lithium, which is essential for the growing supply chain for electric vehicles in Ontario. The projects we are celebrating today are creating jobs in the region and in other mining towns across the north.”

In 2023, Ontario was the top destination for mineral exploration investment in Canada totalling $952 million. This is the second year in a row that Ontario has led the country in mineral exploration investment. The Ontario Junior Exploration Program continues to encourage private sector investment throughout the province that will secure the minerals needed for new technologies including electric vehicles.

Projects receiving OJEP funding under the fourth intake include:

  • $200,000 to New Break Resources Ltd. to conduct surveys and drilling, targeting gold and base metals mineralization.
  • $200,000 to Tyko Resources Inc. to conduct surveys and drilling targeting nickel, copper and platinum-group elements.
  • $198,047 to Copper Lake Resources Ltd. to complete surveys and drilling targeting copper and zinc.
  • $107,823 to Fladgate Exploration Consulting Corp. to conduct surveys targeting nickel, copper and cobalt.
  • $81,554 to Solstice Gold Corp. to conduct surveys targeting lithium.

Launched in 2021, OJEP helps junior mining companies cover eligible costs for critical and precious mineral exploration and development. Through its fourth intake, OJEP has committed $4.4 million to fund 35 projects – 24 of them exploring for critical minerals – leveraging approximately $10 million in additional investment from industry.

Quick Facts

  • The Ontario Junior Exploration Program covers up to 50 per cent of eligible costs to a maximum of $200,000 per project.
  • Applications for the next round of the program open May 8.
  • To be eligible to apply for funding, junior mining companies must have a market capitalization of up to $100 million, or a comparable value, if they are privately owned.
  • Ontario’s mining sector is a significant economic driver, supporting 78,000 jobs in the mining industry.
  • The Government of Ontario is focused on becoming a supplier, producer and manufacturer of critical minerals needed for electric vehicles including lithium, nickel, copper and platinum group elements.


“I’m pleased to see this investment of $479,601 in three projects through the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP) to uncover critical and precious resources in the Thunder Bay region. Northern Ontario boasts a wealth of critical resources, and by investing in the OJEP, we can strengthen the mining sector, creating more jobs in the north and driving economic advancement.”

– Kevin Holland
MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan

“The Ontario Prospectors Association is excited to see over $4 million invested into important exploration projects here in Thunder Bay and across the province. The investment the Ontario government has made in these projects is a signal of their strong support for the industry. The exploration assistance supports jobs in communities across the north. It takes the evaluation of numerous projects to find economic mines and the provincial assistance provides stimulus funding which will increase the number of projects examined.”

– Garry Clark
Executive Director, Ontario Prospectors Association

“New Break Resources Ltd. is extremely grateful for the support provided by the Ontario government through OJEP. The funding assisted in the ongoing advancement of our Moray Project, located south of Timmins and northwest of the Young-Davidson gold mine. The Moray property hosts the potential for Young-Davidson style gold mineralization as well as separately hosting critical minerals potential. The funding from OJEP has allowed us to pursue both of these opportunities and has given New Break the greatest geological understanding at Moray, of any operator to date.”

– Michael Farrant
President & CEO, New Break Resources Ltd.

“The 2023 OJEP funds that GT Resources Inc. (formerly Palladium One Mining Inc.) received helped advance our award winning Tyko Project located near Manitouwadge, Ontario, which hosts the high-grade nickel sulphide needed for the green transition of our economy.”

– Neil Pettigrew
Vice President of Exploration, GT Resources Inc.

“The funding that Copper Lake Resources Ltd. received from the Ontario government through OJEP enabled us to perform additional work related to the exploration of critical metals at our Marshall Lake copper-zinc-silver VMS project, located northeast of Lake Nipigon. The support of the government brought additional awareness to our project as one of the critical mineral exploration projects in the province at a time when funding for junior mining companies is very challenging.”

– Terry MacDonald
CEO, Copper Lake Resources Ltd.

“The OJEP funding received has allowed us to advance the Werner Lake Project at a pace that would otherwise not be possible. The Ontario government’s commitment to the critical minerals sector and exploration projects like ours will lead to the discoveries required to fuel the green economy. The support from the Ontario government is greatly appreciated.”

– Michael Thompson
P.Geo, President, Fladgate Exploration Consulting Corporation


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