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Exploration rebate program taking applicants.

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Twenty junior exploration companies have applied for financial assistance through a provincially-funded rebate program, and there's a second round opening soon.

The Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA) first announced the Junior Exploration Assistance Program (JEAP) in December. The program consists of $5 million in funding from the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation (NOHFC) that is given as a rebate to eligible companies.

OPA executive director Garry Clark presented an update on the program at the 2016 Northeastern Mines and Minerals Symposium on April 28 in Sudbury.

Clark said that he estimates $1.5 million will be put towards qualifiers from the first 20 applicants, but that they've decided to open another round of applications for the remaining $3.5 million between May and August since the first round was short, running less than two months.

Applicants came from across Northern Ontario and represented a range of busi nesses, from airborne surveyors to diamond drillers, said Clark.

The program headlined the announcement of the renewed 10-year Mineral Development Strategy by the Ontario government last December. The strategy is geared to ramp up sustainable mineral development in the province.

"We're hopeful it will become an annual program," said Clark. "But we have to see what the appetite is."

The assistance fund, which used to run in the mid to late 1990s, was revived by the government to assist the struggling mineral exploration sector at the grass roots level.

Clark said the other provinces and territories have similar rebate programs and this is Ontario's attempt to adopt a similar rebate program. It's designed to spur the first-stage activity that leads to the discovery of new deposits and mines.

"The government stepped up to fund to keep people from leaving, and to get new people," said Clark. "It will make the decision easier to come to Ontario."

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Publication:Northern Ontario Business
Geographic Code:1CONT
Date:Jun 1, 2016
Words:304
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