Glencore's Nickel Rim South in Greater Sudbury
Glencore’s Nickel Rim South in Greater Sudbury

By Angela Gemmill

Starting next year, 23 industrial companies across Northern Ontario will get permanent financial support from the provincial government to help with high energy costs.

The Wynne Liberals will provide $120-million in support through the Northern Industries Electricity Rate Program (NIER).

Local M-P-P Glenn Thibeault says that will make a difference for two major Sudbury companies: Vale and Glencore.

The NIER program -which was introduced in 2010- is meant to maintain global competitiveness and in turn keep jobs in the North.

The last round of funding is due to run out early next year.

That’s when this permanent support will begin.

V-P of Glencore’s Sudbury Operations, Marc Boissonneault says energy is just one piece of the puzzle to their long term operations.

He calls the permanent program a step in the right direction to helping provide long-term viability for Glencore and the mining industry at large.

Boissoneault is pleased the provincial government understands that electricity rates have to be in a competitive range in order for a company to be in a position to invest for its future.

Thibeault says many industry leaders across the North have been asking for this kind of permanent support since the program was first created.

Ontario Minister of Northern Development and Mines, Michael Gravelle made a similar announcement at the same time, but from Thunder Bay.