Government of Ontario, Ministry of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry – Ontario Junior Exploration Program


The Ontario Junior Exploration Program (OJEP) is an initiative of the Ontario government that will help attract investment in early exploration, expand the pipeline of mineral development projects, including critical minerals, and lead to more mines and jobs in Ontario.

Junior mining companies (non-producers) in Ontario that meet the program’s eligibility requirements may apply for funding up to $200,000 per project. Companies can include costs up to $10,000, within the $200,000 maximum assistance, to build Indigenous capacity.

Comments on Funding:

Funding is 50% of project costs (exploration expenditures) up to $200,000 per project. Eligible Indigenous capacity activities are eligible for funding at up to a maximum of $10,000 (within the total approved funding for the project).


Applicants must:

  • be a non-producing, junior mining company registered to conduct business in Ontario.
  • have a market capitalization of up to $100 million (or of a comparable value, if private company) as of the opening date of each intake period:
  • July 26, 2021 for Year 1 applications;
  • January 10, 2022 for Year 2 applications.
  • provide proof that they have the funds to cover 100% of total project costs on the day the application is submitted.
  • provide a copy of a valid Certificate of Insurance for this project.
  • be enrolled in the Mining Lands Administration System (MLAS) and able to hold mining claims in Ontario. Claims are to be in good standing for the duration of the project (claims cannot lapse, be abandoned, cancelled or forfeited). The ministry is to be notified, in writing, if claims are transferred at any point during an approved project.
  • have an exploration plan and/or permit valid at time of application and for the duration of project (where required).
  • have the approval of the tenure holder to conduct the proposed project in the event of an option agreement or co-tenure holder relationship.
  • submit an application that meets the definition of grassroots exploration, which involves identifying new mineral exploration targets or evaluating existing targets in areas that are not known to host a mineral deposit with economic potential.

Documentation Needed:

Applicants must attach the following information to their TPON application: 

  1. Items submitted to the ministry as part of your application for a plan or permit, including: 
  • Activity Details Report ;
  • Two maps (regional-scale map and project-scale) that meet ministry map standards (i. Plan map standards and, ii. Permit map standards).
  1. If proposing a project activity that does not require a plan or permit, please provide the following:
  • Two maps (a regional-scale map and project-scale) that meet ministry map standards (i. Plan map standards, and ii. Permit map standards)
  • Please ensure that the project-scale map includes the claims, leases, patents and licenses of occupation. 21 
  1. Copy of permit issued by the ministry or proof of active plan as authorized by the ministry (a copy of MLAS screen showing plan active or copy of permit as sent by the ministry at the time permit was issued).
  2. Proof of funding in the organization’s name to cover 100% of total project costs on the day the application is made (a bank statement is preferred).
  3. if available at time of application, a copy of a valid Certificate of Insurance for this project which includes the following: 
  • commercial general liability insurance for $2 million per occurrence (third party bodily injury, personal injury, and property damage);
  • a cross-liability clause;
  • contractual liability coverage; and
  • a 30-day written notice of cancellation.
  • In addition, prior to executing a Transfer Payment Agreement with the Province of Ontario, the addition of “Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario as represented by the Minister of Northern Development, Mines, Natural Resources and Forestry” as the certificate holder and as an additional insured at the mailing address: 159 Cedar Street, Sudbury, Ontario P3E 6A5 is required.

Other Things to Note:

  1. Year 2 Intake Period: January 10, 2022 to February 15, 2022 for projects with eligible activities starting on or after April 1, 2022.
  2. Applications to the program will be assessed and approved on a first-come, first-served basis. The ministry reserves the right to either extend or reduce an intake round or add additional intake periods depending on the number of applications received.
  3. To support junior mining companies, Ontario is investing $5 million over the next two years (2021-2023) in the new Ontario Junior Exploration Program. Through the program, junior mining companies can apply for funding to cover eligible costs of up to $200,000 per mineral exploration or development project.
  4. Eligible Indigenous Capacity Activities are:
  • Skills training for Indigenous community members.
  • Employment of Indigenous community members in project-related activities.
  • Procurement from Indigenous suppliers for services related to exploration, supplies, accommodation and machinery rental, as well as transportation of personnel, supplies and machinery to fulfill activities under an approved OJEP project.
  1. If you have any questions or issues during this process, do not hesitate to contact the TPON Client Care at 1-855-216-3090 or 416-325-6691, Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST or by email at
  2. For questions related to OJEP and this guide, please contact ministry staff at

Program Contact:

Available funding opportunities from the Ontario Government

Ontario Central Forms Repository Form Identification


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