Metals are present all over the world but they located in a much smaller number of places where the right minerals, attractive economics, a skilled workforce and a strong civil society with a mining friendly legal framework are present. Canada in general and Ontario in particular are one of that select group of places to do business.
So why is Ontario a good place to explore for metals? The geological answer lies in the fact that the underlying rocks in Ontario are old, some of the oldest rocks on the planet dating back two billion plus years. What makes Ontario, Michigan to the south and Quebec to the north so special is that those rock have been worked and reworked over millions of years, concentrating any existing mineralisation present and in certain places supplementing it through volcanic activity, which appears to be the case at Marshall Lake. Those events and subsequent lesser ones often concentrated mineralisation and give rise to world-class mineral deposits such as Kidd Creek with its gold, copper and zinc deposits or Sudbury with its nickel. Because of this the area from Michigan through Ontario and into Quebec is a “Geological Arc” of potential world class mining deposits and Ontario sits in the centre of that arc.
As to whether Marshall Lake or Norton Lake move from being advanced exploration properties into become mines well that requires a lot of hard work, mobilising sufficient financial resources, the right economics and some good luck! But to quote the famous golfer Gary Player “Well, the harder I practice, the luckier I get. Crucially we believe that there is strong evidence that both properties are good candidates to achieve the transformation.
Why the attractive economics? Firstly, the geological processes have in many cases concentrated the metals sufficiently to become economically attractive. The second element rests on Canada’s infrastructure with good rail and road allowing the minerals to be transported long distances at modest cost whether that be to local smelters, as finished goods going to local or export markets, or often shipping to Asia as semi-finished products.
Ontario also has a lot of power. Inexpensive local reliable power based on hydro-electric, which was historically sold to the United States cheaply, but is available especially for local use. Also the Province of Ontario is keen that this precious asset should be used locally to create Canadian jobs in value added industries, with mineral processing being a prime example.
Skilled workforce? Mining and metal processing have been significant industries in Ontario since the 1840s. That depth of history delivers a strong workforce with an “Institutional Memory” of the mining business, something that is often difficult to acquire in “exotic” locations.
The last major advantage that exists in Canada is its legal framework. Canada is a country where both local companies like Copper Lake and overseas companies can come and invest in the knowledge that their financial commitment is protected by a clear and consistent legal framework and in the event of dispute adjudicated upon by independent courts unaffected by political influence. That certainty matters.
Put simply Canada is a good place to do business and Ontario is a great place to be in the mining business.