Second chance for exploration assistance
Junior Exploration Assistance Program
Exploration companies that missed the April 30th closing date for the Junior Exploration Assistance Program (JEAP) can take advantage of an August 30th application deadline for a second tranche of funding.
The $5 million incentive program, funded by the Ontario government’s Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation and administered by the Ontario Prospectors Association (OPA), will reimburse one-third of eligible expenses for up to two early stage exploration projects per applicant. Maximum assistance is limited to $100,000 per project.
Early stage exploration can include prospecting, line cutting, ground or airborne geophysics, stripping and trenching, diamond drilling and assaying.
Additional funding of up to $6,000 per project is available to hire or train members of First Nation communities.
As of April 20th, the OPA had 12 applications in the pipeline.
To be eligible for funding, applicants are required to have an approved exploration plan or permit and provide proof that they have the funds necessary to complete the proposed work.
Eligible expenditures include salaries and fees, supplies, accommodation, equipment rental and transportation.
The OPA lobbied government for the assistance program to avoid a diversion of exploration activity to Manitoba and Quebec, which both have similar programs, said OPA executive director Garry Clark.
A second closing date for applications was set because the guidelines and application forms were only finalized in early March. Applicants approved by the April 30th deadline will get a cheque covering one-third of eligible expenses at project completion, but the rate of reimbursement for companies submitting applications by the August 30th deadline will depend on the number of approved projects and how much of the $5 million remains to be doled out.
The intent of the program is to help small exploration companies, but prospectors will also benefit, said Clark, because they rely on junior exploration companies for option agreements, “and that part of the food chain was being eroded because small juniors have been disappearing.”
Financial assistance for prospectors is also available through the Ontario Exploration Corporation.