Canada’s exploration, mining industries call for government collaboration on policy priorities

21st July 2015

By: Henry Lazenby

Creamer Media Deputy Editor: North America


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TORONTO ( – At the seventy-second yearly conference of Canada’s Energy and Mines Ministers, the country’s exploration and mining industries on Monday lobbied for increased government attention in several challenging sector areas during the current period of economic downturn and uncertainty.

The Canadian Mineral Industry Federation had submitted a brief prepared by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), detailing three policy priorities that would help the industry overcome current challenges and to capitalise on opportunities.

“Despite the current downturn, the industry continues to make enormous contributions to the social and economic well-being of Canadians. However, these contributions cannot be taken for granted.

“Working in partnership with industry, governments can take concrete steps now to position the sector for future success so that, together, we can seize growth opportunities at the earliest signs of the next upturn,” MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton said in a statement.

The brief called on government to address challenges in the transition to Canada's new regulatory regime and to clarify the duty to consult. This entailed ensuring that there was enough capacity across federal departments to conduct timely environmental assessments and improve federal-provincial coordination.

Government was also urged to clarify and improve on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal communities, particularly in issues related to ambiguity, unpredictability, discrepancies between Crown consultation policies/guidelines and consultation in practice and provincial/territorial-federal coordination.

Further, the industry associations called on government to address the higher costs of operating in remote and northern Canada. A recent industry study had revealed that the cost to build new mines was as much as 2.5 times higher in northern Canada, when compared with more centrally located regions, while remote mineral exploration could cost as much as six times that of nonremote projects.

This cost premium was mainly attributed to the lack of critical infrastructure in these regions, such as ports, power and roads.

Governments should also work together to invest in nation-building northern infrastructure and use fiscal tools to facilitate private-sector infrastructure investments to catalyse remote exploration and new mining investment.

The lobby group also asked government to help juniors to secure access to capital, suggesting that fiscal incentives be adopted and enhanced to sustain grassroots mineral exploration to maintain the pipeline of projects that could become mines.

Further, the group implored government to reform the fragmented and complex securities regulatory system in Canada to support cost-effective ways to raise capital and help maintain Canada's global leadership in mining equity finance.

“To compete globally, Canada must work to remain attractive as a destination for investment in mineral exploration and development. Canada must also maintain the components of the ecosystem that make the Canadian minerals industry unique, namely its world-class exploration and supply sectors, financing expertise and reputation as a consistent and stable jurisdiction in which to explore, build and operate mines,” PDAC president Rod Thomas commented.

Edited by Tracy Hancock
Creamer Media Contributing Editor


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