Thompson Citizen with Shastri Ramnath 22 October 2019
A successor program to the Mining Community Reserve Fund (MCRF), which was intended to provide assistance to mining communities affected by shutdowns due to ore depletion as well as support mineral exploration in Manitoba, was announced by provincial Growth, Enterprise and Trade Minister Blaine Pedersen in The Pas Oct. 16.
The provincial government is providing $20 million to establish the new Manitoba Mineral Development Fund (MMDF) and up to six per cent of annual revenues under the Mining Tax Act will be added to that amount.
“The Manitoba Mineral Development Fund (MMDF) will help our province capitalize on the incredible mineral potential and opportunities that exist in the north and across Manitoba,” said Pedersen. “It will play a key role in advancing new initiatives that will benefit our economy and local communities alike, with a partnership-based approach to help grow and diversify our northern economy together with Indigenous communities.”
Communities, businesses and organizations including Indigenous groups, municipalities and not-for-profit entities will be eligible to apply for funding from the MMDF. Assistance can include one-time grants for activities to advance new mining opportunities and outreach to First Nations for collaborative resource development, Pedersen said.
The fund will be administered by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC), which will report annually to the province about the fun’s activities, results and financial health.
“We’re pleased the MCC has agreed to take on this important role in supporting and attracting new investment to Manitoba and the north,” said Pedersen. “MCC has a strong and established network that is well-positioned to work collaboratively and respond to the needs of local communities and industry.”
“MCC appreciates the provincial government’s investment and confidence that has been placed in our organization to deliver the MMDF program,” said MCC CEO Chuck Davidson. “We recognize the challenge and the opportunity that exists when it comes to northern economic development and we are confident this fund can play a role in supporting new and exciting initiatives.”
“This is a clear signal to mineral exploration companies and investors that Manitoba is engaged and motivated to attract mining investment to the province,” said Shastri Ramnath, president and CEO of Exiro Minerals Corp., and chair of the Manitoba Liaison Committee on Mining and Exploration. “The geological potential of Manitoba is unmatched and exploration is the only way to find the next new mine. We look forward to working with the MCC to ensure the fund supports responsible mineral exploration and mining and reconciliation with Indigenous communities.”
Pedersen said the MMDF aligns with the priorities of the provincial government’s Look North task force and action plan for the Northern Manitoba economy, which identified mineral development as important to the long-term economic prosperity of the province and highlighted the importance of building stronger partnerships in the north to advance economic growth and development.
Shastri Ramnath is the president and CEO of Exiro Minerals Corporation.