How to Fund Mineral Projects With Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP) 

The Ontario provincial government has placed a large emphasis on improving the province’s critical minerals sector. The importance of critical minerals to everyday life has grown exponentially over the past decade as common household products, technology, and vehicles rely on these minerals to operate. As a result, Ontario continues to invest heavily in minerals exploration and processing. One program which posses a significant opportunity for minerals businesses in Ontario is the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP). 

OJEP assists junior mining companies to finance early exploration projects. These projects contribute to mineral exploration, economic growth, and the creation of jobs, especially in northern and Indigenous communities. 

“These investments are an important part of our government’s plan to build our economy as we support industry exploration for the critical minerals Ontario is blessed with. We’re building a supply chain ecosystem, connecting resources and workers in the north to the future of clean steel and electric vehicles, and ensuring the cars of the future can be built in Ontario from start to finish by Ontario workers.”  

Premier Doug Ford

There are two main streams that operate through the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP), the Exploration stream and the Critical Minerals stream. Launched in 2021, the Ontario Junior Exploration Program has received $29 million over four years. $12 million is dedicated exclusively to critical minerals exploration, with $17 million available for for all other of mineral exploration. 

“The Ontario Prospectors Association supports the government’s Ontario Junior Exploration Program. Assistance programs allow explorers to complete additional exploration and attract junior explorers to the province. Exploration provides for economic stimulus in northern communities.” 

Garry Clark President, Ontario Prospectors Association

Amount of funding 

Applicants to the Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP) can receive up to $200,000 in funding support to cover 50% of eligible costs. 

Applicant Eligibility 

Eligible applicants must meet the following criteria: 

  • Be a junior mining company with a market capitalization of up to $100 million;  
  • Register your business with the Ontario Business Registry; 
  • Enroll in the Mining Lands Administration System and have an exploration plan with a valid permit approval and sufficient tenure on mining lands; and 
  • Propose grassroots mineral exploration including the identification of new targets for mineral exploration or the evaluation of existing targets in unexplored areas. 

Eligible Projects 

The following activities are eligible for funding: 

  • Drill hole capping and sealing during early exploration; 
  • Explorative drilling of surface overburden; 
  • Material removal such as refuse, fuel drums, equipment, etc.; 
  • Geological, geochemical, and geophysical surveys for the preparation of maps and reports; and. 
  • Trenching, overburden removal, and test pits. 

Program Timelines 

Deadline for applications is March 16, 2023. Projects must be completed by February 16, 2024. 

Find Government Funding for Your Critical Minerals Business 

You can rely on Mentor Works, a Ryan Company to guide you through the government funding process to access government grants or loans. By preparing and planning with your strategic objectives in mind, Mentor Works, a Ryan Company will help your business receive the maximum amount of financial support.  

Learn about industry- or activity-specific government funding programs during a free government funding discovery session

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