In 1993, Inco and Falconbridge (now Vale and Glencore) paid 25 per cent of all the taxes paid in Sudbury. In 2018, 25 years later, taxes paid by the industrial, commercial and residential property owners in Greater Sudbury totaled $265 million; 25 per cent of this would equal $65 million.
However, the mining companies have reduced their surface footprint resulting in their share dropping to around six per cent, which equals some $16 million in taxes paid. The city cannot tax anything that is below ground. This is a reduction in industrial taxes paid annually of some $47 million (in 2018 dollars). Who makes up the difference, you ask? Just look in the mirror.
Under the Aggregate Act of Ontario, Greater Sudbury receives seven cents for every ton of gravel extracted from local pits. This equates to an annual cheque of some $300,000.
So, we share in the extraction of gravel, but we get nothing for the extraction of base and precious metals, while footing the bill for roads, cultural and social infrastructure.
Mining companies can recoup 100 per cent of capital costs before they pay any tax. No other industry in this province enjoys this treatment. The Mining Act of Ontario needs to be revised. Communities that host mining operations need to share in the royalties and corporate taxes paid by mining companies to senior government.
It astounds me that this is not an election issue: $47 million a year in lost tax revenue. Former mayor John Rodriguez had this right.