Thunder Bay is the commercial, administrative and transportation hub for the entire Northwestern Ontario region. This is one of the world’s leading mining exploration and development areas, and the latest frontier for developments in bio-mass, energy, natural gas, infrastructure, transportation, research and health sciences.

Get to know Northwestern Ontario - one of the most diverse and up-and-coming economies in Canada.

Population (2016)
Area (sq km)
Private Dwellings

Mining exploration & development

Mining is a driving force of the region’s economy. Northwestern Ontario is home to six working mines, producing approximately 720,000 ounces of gold and 232,000 ounces of palladium in 2019. Major exploration projects are also quickly advancing to production, and include gold as well as other commodities such as lithium, graphite, palladium, nickel, zinc, iron and copper. Analysts forecast that Northwestern Ontario will produce over 20% of Canada’s gold by 2023.


The Ring of Fire is Canada’s largest potential mining development in over a century. Situated about 500 km northeast of Thunder Bay, the area hosts major chromite, nickel, copper, zinc and platinum deposits. Chromite is the key mined material in the production of stainless steel. Noront Resources‘ Eagle’s Nest Nickel-Copper-PGE Deposit is the most advanced mining project in the Ring of Fire. Major business development opportunities exist for Indigenous partnerships, mining development & supply, minerals processing, environmental services, road construction, energy, transportation, telecommunications and other services.

Exploration Spending (millions)
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Mining Claims
GDP in 30 Years (billions)
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The North Shore of Lake Superior is a key hotspot in the region’s growth story, creating new development opportunities in energy, marine sciences, aquaculture and nature-based recreation and tourism. The North Shore region runs along the TransCanada highway, parallel to Lake Superior, the world’s largest freshwater lake.
Feature Projects Along the North Shore
  • NextBridge Infrastructure East-West Tie Transmission Project – construction of a $500M+ transmission line from the Municipality of Shuniah to Wawa.
  • Lake Superior National Marine Conservation Area (LSNMCA) – the largest freshwater marine protected area in the world, and home to vital marine research and development activities.
  • Supercom Industries – a 100% Indigenous joint venture by six First Nations to develop training, employment and procurement of workforce talent and suppliers for major industrial projects.
  • Lake Superior North Shore Tourism Strategy – a collaboration to capitalize on tourism product development opportunities on land and water.
  • North Shore Gas Project – a $55M project to bring a virtual natural gas pipeline to rural communities in the region.


The Fort Frances area has a strategic advantage given its border location close to the US market. The area provides a mix of high value industrial, tourism and agricultural opportunities. In recent years, the area has seen a revitalization of its economic base with exciting developments in value-added wood products, new mining exploration and development, as well as farming innovations.
Feature Projects in the Fort Frances Area
  • BioPower Sustainable Energy – a manufacturer of commercial and residential grade wood pellets, as well as new product developments in renewable energy solutions.
  • New Gold Mine – an open pit gold and silver mining project that began operation in Rainy River in 2019.
  • The Emo Agricultural Research Station – research and discoveries are presenting new possibilities for farmers in this area. Initiatives include cultivar evaluation, crop nutrition and new species evaluation, as well as renewable fuel and fibre crops.
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