The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, delivers remarks at the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada Convention
March 1, 2020, Toronto
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Thank you, Paul and good afternoon everyone!
As I’ve told some of you, this is my very first PDAC – but it’s certainly not Paul’s. If you know Paul – a native son of Sudbury – then you know that for him PDAC is like returning to his home planet.
Paul – I’ve been so grateful to be able to rely on your insight and knowledge as my Parliamentary Secretary since I became Minister of Natural Resources last November.
Having grown up in Labrador, I certainly wasn’t lacking for an appreciation of how critical Canada’s mining sector is to our communities – but your expertise, experience, and relationships are a tremendous asset to the Government of Canada.
Now, I want to begin by acknowledging that we are meeting on the traditional lands of many nations – including the Mississaugas of the New Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat peoples.
It was one year ago that our government helped launch the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan – right here at PDAC. That Plan represented a milestone in Canada’s mining history. With a new vision for mining. A vision that will help Canada seize the opportunities of this clean-growth century. And be the leading mining nation.
Somebody told me today that that plan has been downloaded in 96 countries around the world. To me, that right there proves, once again, that when the world wants to learn about the best in mining, it looks to Canada.
Today, we begin to put the foundation underneath our vision, by introducing the first in a series of plans – Action Plan 2020.
It outlines new, concrete action for all six of the areas identified in the CMMP:
- Enhancing Economic Development and Competitiveness;
- Advancing the Participation of Indigenous Peoples;
- Protecting the Environment;
- Supporting Science, Technology and Innovation;
- Building Communities; and
- Increasing Global Leadership.
For each of these areas, there are specific targets. And paths to achieve them.
Action Plan 2020 introduces:
- a pan-Canadian geoscience strategy;
- initiatives to increase Indigenous and local procurement;
- an improved mine reclamation and remediation initiative;
- support for innovation;
- a mineral literacy campaign; and,
- a new “Canada Brand for Mining”— one that presents the benefits of doing business in Canada and with Canadian companies.
I’ll be doing more work on the 2020 Action Plan this summer with my provincial and territorial colleagues at our annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference. The CMMP and Action Plan 2020 help us capitalize on what I believe is a once-in-a-generation opportunity.
And as I said earlier this morning at the Opening Ceremonies: I want to seize that momentum. And I want to do it working hand-in-glove with you. The world needs this sector more now than ever before. It needs your leadership on Indigenous reconciliation. It needs the jobs you create – and the communities you change for the better. And, perhaps most important of all, it needs you to play a central role in tackling climate change. By supplying the critical minerals for renewable energy, smart grids, LED light bulbs, advanced batteries, electric motors, small modular reactors and electric vehicles.
That includes critical minerals, where our closest trading partners are looking to Canada to become a trusted ally in securing supply chains. Earlier this year, the Government of Canada finalized a Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration with the United States.
Canada is also ideally positioned to be a leader in the batteries that will revolutionize the vehicles we drive, in no small part thanks to our leading battery research community. We have the rare earth elements used to make magnets for electric motors. We have world-class automotive and manufacturing sectors. An abundance of renewable and affordable energy. And the key ingredients for lithium-ion batteries.
Taken together, today’s Action Plan puts us on the path to seize the moment that mining is having worldwide. To keep the momentum going, we will release more initiatives after the 2020 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference this July as well as through Action Plans in 2021 and 2022. And new editions following every three years after that. Keeping the Plan evergreen is critical—because standing still just isn’t an option. Not in this economy. To stay competitive, we’ve got to be smart, thorough, and nimble.
The people who come to PDAC – all of you – understand this. This is one of the rooms that can do it. And we are the country that can do it.
Canada will lead. I believe that
Natural Resources Canada
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources
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