Thunder Bay Advantages

Thunder Bay Advantages for Mining

Mining operations control centre

Thunder Bay supports the exploration and mining industry in Northwestern Ontario and is home to 500 mining service and supply companies. As a thriving urban centre and regional mining hub, Thunder Bay provides business support through access to funding, networking with industry leaders, communications infrastructure, and access to cutting edge research facilities. Thunder Bay's location and extensive logistics network enable access to global markets through road, rail, air, and sea transportation.

Remote mining control terminal

Mining has been a key industry for Northwestern Ontario for 150 years. Over that time Ontario has developed the world's most productive, technologically advanced, environmentally sound and safe mining industry. There is investment from the Ontario government to improve infrastructure to continue the advancement of mining.

Person standing next to CESME signage

Thunder Bay is committed to responsible mining and Lakehead University has created the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration. There are other research and innovation centres in the area dedicated to improving technology, engaging indigenous people and being socially and environmentally responsible.

Gold coins

Thunder Bay is poised to handle the entire mining sequence acquisition to closure. The  Indigenous  population  has  taken  up  the  challenge  by  becoming  trusted  employees  and  owners  of  their  own  businesses  that  serve  the  mineral  industry.  When  a  mine  reaches  the  end  of  its  productive  life,  members  of  the  local  communities  have  skills  and  business  acumen  that  can  be  transferred  to  other  industries. Thunder Bay has the talent and knowledge to support the mining sector today and into the future.

Key Resources for Extraction/Exploration and Development

Resource Industry Sector / Application
Gold Jewellery, Investments, Electronics
Nickel Building Infrastructure and Defence Materials, Batteries
Copper Electrical Power, Electronics, Energy
Palladium Automotive, Electronics
Zinc Galvanization
Lithium Lithium Ion Batteries, High Temperature Glass
Chromite Stainless Steel
Graphite Batteries, Concrete, Water Filtration
Cobalt Batteries

Research and Innovation Centres

CESME logoCentre of Excellence for Sustainable Mining and Exploration (CESME) - Lakehead University, has established itself as Canada's premier hub for informed, research-driven approaches to strategic, sustainable and responsible mineral resource development.


ACTLabs LogoActivation Laboratories Ltd. (ACTLabs) - ACTLabs opened their Thunder Bay location in 2008 and expanded in 2011. They provide  high volume sample preparation and a wide variety of trace-level to high-grade analysis methods including gold and other precious metals.


ALS logoALS Environmental - ALS has two locations in Thunder Bay. They provide a full range of environmental testing services, specializing in the analysis of air, soil, sediment, water, and much more.


Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre logoNorthwestern Ontario Innovation Centre - This team supports not only entrepreneurs but all businesses in Northwestern Ontario that are working on innovation. Become a member to access business advice, market research and development assistance as well as funding opportunities and networking.

Cost Advantages

Provincial and Federal Cost Advantages

Thunder Bay benefits from being part of Ontario as well as Canada. Canada is an extremely business friendly country for business. It is consistently ranked highly competitive on major cost factors including labour, transportation, and taxes. Canada also has a lower dollar value, which increases profits when selling to the US and global markets.

Top 3 Cost Competitive Countries infographic

Ontario offers competitive corporate tax rates, which are lower than the average federal-state CIT rate in the US. (Source: Ontario Ministry of Finance, 2017 Budget). Ontario also features a universal healthcare system, which means that average employer health costs per year for companies based in Ontario are 1/3 of the cost of the US average. (Source: MMK Consulting, 2016).

The Thunder Bay Advantage

Arial photo of Thunder BayThunder Bay is the largest community on Lake Superior and in a unique position to support mining in all of Northwestern Ontario. With an extensive transportation network, businesses can optimize their shipping options based on the final destination of their goods by utilizing a mixture of air, sea, rail, and road transportation. Businesses in Thunder Bay benefit from this network, which allows easy access for exporting extracted materials. Thunder Bay's location and existing supply chain infrastructure is ideal for businesses that need to access not only North America, but a global market.

Thunder Bay has zero development charges, affordable cost of land, and competitive construction costs, giving businesses superior opportunities for development. Residential real estate is also available, at some of the least expensive prices in Canada.

Thunder Bay businesses benefit from Thunder Bay Hydro being the third-lowest cost electrical distributor in Ontario. Thunder Bay is well serviced by TBAYTEL as well as national communications providers enabling worldwide connection at an affordable rate. Thunder Bay also features a superior quality of life and a lower cost of living for its residents.

Success Stories: Atlas Dewatering Corporation

River bypass constructionAtlas Dewatering Corporation opened their Thunder Bay location in 2013 to engage mining, municipal construction and highway needs. They have been able to deliver their services to the mining industry including: open pit mine dewatering, tailing dam construction, existing mine tailings management, water transfer, and new mine construction.

"Thunder Bay's businesses and other contractors were always willing to help us out when starting up. Thunder Bay's affordable cost of housing, 15 minute commutes to work, and under 1 hour drives to fishing and camping, has easily allowed us to attract new team members from Southwestern Ontario and Western Canada." says Stephen Kokeza, Director of Corporate Development at Atlas Dewatering Corporation.

Atlas Dewatering Corporation's success in Thunder Bay has been a launching pad for further expansion. The Thunder Bay branch of Atlas Dewatering Corporation is now acting as a hub for the newer locations in Canada, overseeing the majority of administration and training of new employees. Click here to download the full success story.

For additional information please contact the Project Manager, Mining Services Sector at (807) 625-2480 or visit our Contact Us page.

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