Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he is counting on the Northern Ontario mining industry to help build Ontario into an economic powerhouse for the battery electric vehicle (BEV) industry.
Ford was speaking Jan. 23 at the annual conference of the 2024 Rural Ontario Municipal Association (ROMA) when he spoke about the importance of the Ontario critical minerals strategy for the future of EVs in Ontario.
"I know you’ve heard me speak about this many times before. But I need to talk about our booming electric vehicle industry. That’s because this industry is going to benefit every community in the province for generations to come," Ford told the delegates in downtown Toronto.
"We’re building a home-grown EV supply chain, connecting critical minerals in Northern Ontario, and clean steelmakers in Hamilton and Sault Ste. Marie to automakers and battery manufacturers across Ontario, all powered by clean, affordable Ontario energy," Ford continued.
He said that in the past three years, Ontario has attracted more than $28 billion in automotive and EV investments, which includes the $7-billion investment by Volkwagen for a new battery plant in St. Thomas, Ont.
"These investments are creating thousands of new jobs and supporting hundreds of thousands of indirect jobs throughout the supply chain in communities across the province. We’re becoming a world leader in the electric vehicle revolution," Ford told the conference.
"Ontario is the only place in the world that the six largest automakers call home. And, friends, as our economy grows our population is growing at record speed. Ontario is the fastest-growing place in North America, bar none," he said.
Ford also spoke to the importance of transportation in Northern Ontario. He said his government has purchased three all new locomotives and sets of passenger cars for the three new Northlander passenger trains that will run between Toronto and Timmins and Cochrane, "making it easier for families to get where they need to go." he said.
"And, last year we approved the terms of reference for the First Nations-led Environmental Assessment to finally build the all-season roads in the Ring of Fire region," said Ford, referring to the Northwestern Ontario mining deposit.
Len Gillis covers mining and health care for Sudbury.com.