Action needed to regain Canada’s leadership in mineral exploration and mining

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With Canada dropping to second place behind Australia as the most desirable mining destination in the world, the Canadian mineral exploration and mining industry is calling for change.

At the 73rd annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC), industry representatives from the Canadian Mineral Industry Federation (CMIF) asked Energy and Mines Ministers to reform certain policies to regain the country’s mining leadership.

“The mining sector’s ability to continue its role as a powerful economic driver and top employer in regions across the country is in large part dependent on the decisions made by Canadians governments,” says Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada.

As such, the CMIF has pinpointed seven policy priorities that will help the industry to overcome its current challenges. A brief released by the organization proposes the following:

1. Financing for early-stage exploration: CMIF asks that all jurisdictions in Canada maintain and enhance fiscal incentives. In particular, the Ministers are asked to support the renewal of the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC) and to sustain the flow-through shares system. These measures have helped Canada attract billions of dollars in investment and led to the creation of thousands of jobs in remote areas of the country.

2. Regulatory environment: The Ministers should ensure that the recently announced federal review results in an effective regulatory process that the public has confidence in, and that improves the competitiveness of the industry and attracts much-needed mineral investment to Canada. Federal-provincial coordination in this area is critical and provinces are strongly encouraged to participate fully in the review.

3. Aboriginal affairs: CMIF recommends that governments support efforts to enhance the participation of Aboriginal peoples in the industry through investments in health, education and skills-training, and government benefits and resource revenue sharing. CMIF also recommends that governments examine and address challenges related to how they are implementing the duty to consult.

4. Address the costs of operating in remote and northern Canada: CMIF recommends the creation of a northern infrastructure fund within the proposed Canada Infrastructure Bank, and strategic fiscal incentives to help offset the high costs of exploring and operating in remote parts of Canada.

5. Climate change, clean technology and innovation: The Federal Government should invest $50 million over five years in the Canada Mining Innovation Council’s Towards Zero Waste Mining strategy to achieve mutual goals of reducing GHG emissions and environmental impacts, and to support the transition to a lower-carbon future.

6. Land withdrawals: Removal of highly-prospective areas is reducing the attractiveness of Canada as an exploration destination. CMIF is calling on all jurisdictions to ensure that mineral potential is factored into all land withdrawal decision-making processes.

7. Strengthening Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference: CMIF encourages Mines Ministers to undertake a study to understand how similar meetings are used as a means to drive improvements in government and industry performance.

“As the downturn is still being felt by the mineral exploration and mining industry, action is required to ensure Canadians are able to capitalize on the great opportunities that lie ahead,” says Bob Schafer, president of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada.

Schafer notes that all parties involved will work with the Federal Government to ensure that Canada’s leading industry status is regained.

“In doing so, the substantial social and economic benefits—to all Canadians—that accompany these investments will be enjoyed.”

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