TORONTO (miningweekly.com) – The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) this week said it commended the federal government on the signing of two new foreign investment promotion and protection agreements (FIPAs) with Zambia and Cameroon.
The Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway Ed Fast made the announcement during the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada’s recent yearly convention.
"Given the global nature of our sector, the Canadian mining industry is highly supportive of the formation of new trade agreements,” MAC's president and CEO Pierre Gratton said.
Gratton said the FIPAs with Zambia and Cameroon were strategic, and would help ensure that Canadian mining investment was supported and protected in these important emerging markets where “great opportunities for responsible mining growth exist".
Africa is a significant destination for mining, capturing 15% of global exploration investment in 2011, according to Metals Economics Group.
In the same year, the Toronto Stock Exchange and the TSX Venture Exchange accounted for more than $1-billion in capital raised for African mining projects in over 35 countries on the continent.
According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, in 2011, Canadian mining assets in Cameroon were valued at more than $35-million, while Zambia's mining assets were worth in excess of $6-billion.
"Zambia and Cameroon have significant potential to improve their wealth through sustainable development of the mining industry, and the conclusion of these agreements is an important step forward to support that direction," said Gratton.
Gratton noted Canada's mining industry was responsible for 10% of Canadian direct investment abroad (CDIA). Mining CDIA contributed directly to job creation, Canada's mining services sector - the second largest in the world - and to Canada's global leadership in mining.
Foreign investment protection mechanisms under the FIPAs, including access to international arbitration, were relevant in the event of investment disputes. They also provided companies that were making long-term investments with an added layer of confidence.
“For these and other benefits accompanying freer trade, MAC encouraged the federal government to continue with its active trade agenda, through negotiating and, where possible, finalising other FIPAs and free trade agreements,” MAC said.