Ministers’ Statement on Wolf Lake Old Growth Forest Reserve


Rick Bartolucci, Minister of Northern Development and Mines, and Michael Gravelle, Minister of Natural Resources, issued the following statement today regarding the Wolf Lake Old Growth Forest Reserve:

“One of the most challenging parts of our jobs is balancing economic development opportunities with environmental sustainability. Both are necessities for Ontarians.

Under our government’s watch, the value of mineral production in the province has soared to over $11 billion. This means jobs and prosperity at a time of global economic uncertainty. Our success has occurred within the context of strict environmental stewardship – we have demonstrated strong leadership on environmental issues. All mineral exploration and development activities in Ontario must meet the highest standards of socially and environmentally responsible exploration.

We have listened to various perspectives, and are ensuring the old growth red pine in the Wolf Lake area is protected. Our recent decision to keep the Wolf Lake Old Growth Forest as a Forest Reserve does not open the area up to new prospecting and mineral claim staking.

Under Ontario’s Living Legacy land use strategy, Wolf Lake’s Forest Reserve designation allows the mining claims and leases held by Flag Resources in the Wolf Lake area north of Greater Sudbury to continue. The company has met the renewal criteria established under the Mining Act and is entitled to have its lease renewed.

Ontario’s Living Legacy has always indicated that areas being protected would allow for pre-existing mining claims and leases to continue. Our actions are consistent with long-standing practices. If mining claims or leases in the Wolf Lake Forest reserve lapse, a process would begin to add the affected area to the Chiniguchi Waterway Provincial Park.

Ontario’s future economic well-being is closely tied to the sustainable development of our natural resources, particularly in Northern Ontario. That’s why we continue to promote responsible mineral exploration and development while finding ways to preserve important and unique ecological areas for future generations. We’re doing this through legislation and regulations that protect the quality of our water, land and air, and through amendments to our Mining Act which, when brought into force, will require early exploration activities to be carried out with even greater consideration for the environment.

We are proud of both our province’s mineral resources and its beautiful forests, and we recognize the prosperity they bring to Ontarians. That’s why a balanced approach to mining is a cornerstone of a strong Ontario, now and in the future.”