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Ontario’s junior miners are getting a small handout in Wednesday’s Ontario budget with a new initiative to help finance geological exploration.

The provincial government pledged $5 million over the next two years under a new program that will enable junior mining companies to seek up to $200,000 from the government per mineral exploration or development project.

The so-called Ontario Junior Exploration Program is intended to attract investment in the sector and to “facilitate the discovery of promising mining opportunities,” the government said in the budget.

“The success of junior exploration is critical to the discovery of existing and new mineral deposits that support larger mining companies, equipment manufacturers and investors across the province,” the government said, noting that the effects of Covid-19 have reduced the availability of capital to finance exploration by junior miners.