MARATHON — As two major mining projects are set to become a reality within the next couple of years, Marathon municipal leaders are actively planning their strategy to address housing shortages in preparation for a population boom.
Mayor Rick Dumas said Generation Mining is waiting on the provincial government to approve their final construction permit for the company's proposed $1.1-billion open-pit palladium and copper mine near the north shore of Lake Superior.
“They’ve submitted some permits," said Dumas. "They are waiting on some discussion with the ministry in regard to some of the final permitting."
He said after the permitting process is done Generation will need to come up with the final financial portion to begin construction.
“As you know, they re-released the feasibility study, which brought it from around $700 million to $1.1 billion, so they have to work on a little more of that financing issue,” Dumas said.
During the minister’s forum at the 2023 Northwestern Ontario Municipal Association Conference, held April 26-28 in Thunder Bay, Dumas questioned Mines Minister George Pirie about providing additional funding to help Generation Mining with their finances.
Pirie said the government is "always open to ideas.”
Dumas is fairly optimistic that the mine will be operational by 2025.
In the meantime, Marathon has several housing projects slated for construction.
“We have a 30-unit, two-bedroom building that is being constructed that will probably be open in June. That will be available to Marathon residents and surrounding areas,” Dumas said.
Once completed, there will be a 15-month build of a 50-unit, two-bedroom apartment complex that will be done sometime in the spring or summer of 2024.
Dumas also confirmed a potential subdivision of about 105 new homes is on the way.
“That was already on our books of design. So, we’ve cleared the pathway, the roadway, and the easement to start looking at putting that out for tender,” said Dumas.
Over the next several months, Marathon’s council will be focused on getting developers to accept the tender to develop that residential area.
“We are on the right track for population growth,” Dumas said.