Mines ministers from across Canada discussed current opportunities and challenges facing the mining sector at the 2015 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC), held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. This year’s Conference theme — Innovating for a Strong Canadian Energy and Mining Sector —emphasized the importance of natural resources to Canada’s economic future. Key issues discussed included support for junior mining companies, the importance of community engagement and ongoing innovation in the mining sector.
Benefits from Mining
Last year, the mining, minerals and metals sector accounted for nearly $63 billion of Canada’s nominal GDP. With more than 200 active mines in Canada producing more than 60 minerals and metals, the sector employed nearly 380,000 Canadians, including about 10,000 Aboriginal persons.
The Canadian mining industry offers many socio-economic benefits to Canadians, including high salaries, skills training for communities, business development opportunities and infrastructure such as roads, ports and railways. Between 2008 and 2012, the mining and select manufacturing sectors — which include mining and quarrying, primary metal manufacturing and non-metallic mineral product manufacturing — contributed on average $3.8 billion in corporate taxes and royalties each year, which are critical to supporting social programs and services for Canadians across the country.
Community engagement is fundamental for successful mining development.
The ministers talked about the factors that enable communities — both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal — to benefit from mineral resource development, drawing on concrete examples from various jurisdictions.
In support of this discussion, the ministers released four new case studies to be added to the 2014 report Compendium of Good Practices in Community Engagement and Readiness. This joint federal, provincial and territorial compendium now features 25 case studies from governments, communities and industry in Canada that highlight good practices in community engagement and readiness for mineral resource development.
The four new case studies, from Saskatchewan, Quebec, Manitoba and Yukon, span the mining life cycle from exploration, development and production to mine closure and the reclamation of depleted mine sites. The studies reveal how early and sustained engagement and partnerships among governments, industry and communities are critical at each stage of mineral development.
Competitiveness of Junior Mining Companies
The ministers recognized the importance of junior mining and exploration companies to Canada’s economy and discussed the challenges affecting the competitiveness of this sector, such as access to land and capital, the duty to consult, enabling infrastructure and the stability of incentives and government programs.
Building on the Government of Canada’s recent extension of the 15% Mineral Exploration Tax Credit and expanded definition of Canadian Exploration Expenses, the ministers discussed ways to assist junior mining companies, to ensure that they remain competitive in the face of a challenging minerals and metals market outlook, worldwide economic uncertainty, investor risk aversion and new realities in their operating environment.
Innovation in the Mining Industry
The ministers recognized that innovation is key to maintaining the Canadian mining industry’s competitive edge in the global economy and helping companies to improve their environmental performance. The ministers agreed that government efforts to support innovation in the sector must recognize current challenges and opportunities, focus on industry priorities and incorporate strong partnerships.
Since 2009, the Government of Canada has invested over $56 million in the Green Mining Initiative. This initiative invests in research and development in sustainable mining practices, and supports the commercialization of green mining technologies, contributing to an economically competitive mining sector in Canada.
Building upon this success, the Government of Canada recently announced $23 million over five years to stimulate the technological innovation needed to separate and develop rare earth elements and chromite.
National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative
The National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative (NOAMI) brings together representatives from the Canadian mining industry, governments, non-governmental organizations and Aboriginal communities to examine the legislative, policy and program framework in Canada. Launched in 2002 by federal, provincial and territorial mines ministers, NOAMI is guided by a multi-stakeholder advisory committee. The ministers discussed how NOAMI addresses issues associated with orphaned and abandoned mines, including the prevention of future abandoned mines and NOAMI’s recommendations for improvements.
Media may contact:
Office of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources and
Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario
Natural Resources Canada
The general public may contact:
Mon.–Fri., 8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m. EDT
(teletype for the hearing-impaired)
Follow us on Twitter: @NRCan (http://twitter.com/nrcan)