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Calls to address Canada’s declining mineral industry competitiveness

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Global Mining Review,

A national alliance of mineral exploration and mining associations are urging Energy and Mines Ministers – having convened for their 75th annual conference in Iqaluit – to adopt recommendations and take action to ensure Canada can compete with other jurisdictions as an attractive destination for mineral investment, an area that has been stagnant in recent years.

A brief submitted by the Canadian Mineral Industry Federation (CMIF) details seven policy areas where collaboration and action by federal, provincial and territorial governments can boost Canada’s ability to attract new mineral investment. It is critical there be support for the industry in its efforts to produce the minerals and metals increasingly in demand for societal needs, including for the transition to a low carbon economy and to continue responsibly generating economic opportunities for all Canadians.

Regulatory challenges

Regulatory and policy factors play a significant role in determining investment decisions – governments must ensure that Canada’s regulatory regimes are effective, efficient, predictable and balanced in order to reduce uncertainty, delays and increased costs that undermine Canada’s investment climate.

Enhancing Indigenous participation and reconciliation

The mineral industry is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada on a proportional basis, is a leading supporter of Indigenous businesses, and makes significant investments in skills training and community initiatives. Government investments to improve the socio-economic conditions in Indigenous communities can further enhance the meaningful participation of Indigenous peoples in the industry.

Accessing prospective lands

Canada’s ability to attract investment, accelerate its rate of discoveries, and advance projects to mine development is contingent upon responsible access to prospective land, with which Canada is so well endowed. Canadian governments should undertake comprehensive mineral resource assessments, based on geoscientific studies, in order to understand and incorporate the value of mineral potential into regional assessments and land management decisions.

Adopt effective climate change policies

An effective climate change policy leads to meaningful emissions reductions while enabling the Canadian economy to grow. Climate change policies must be revenue neutral, ensure the competitiveness of emissions-intensive and trade-exposed (EITE) sectors, and be sensitive to changing economic and geographical realities such as those in Canada’s northern and remote regions.

Investments in innovation and geoscience

Government investments in geoscience and innovation will spur mineral exploration and mining activity, and are critical to enhancing the industry’s efficiency, productivity and environmental performance.

Remote and northern exploration and mining

The future of Canada's mineral industry lies increasingly in remote and northern regions. Various challenges related to the high costs of operating in these regions must be addressed to support mineral investment and project advancement, and enhance economic development opportunities for northern and Indigenous communities.

Stimulating investment through strong fiscal policy

Sound fiscal policy is needed to ensure a jurisdiction’s competitiveness in the global mineral industry. Various incentives, competitive taxation levels, and efficient and reliable securities regulations are critical for positively influencing investment in Canada’s mineral sector.

Striving to restore Canada’s position as the world’s top mineral exploration and mining jurisdiction is imperative to the long-term health of the industry. CMIF looks forward to working with government, industry, communities and Indigenous partners to support a sustainable and competitive Canadian mineral industry.

“There is a critical need to address Canada’s waning mineral investment and the various challenges impacting Canada’s position as the top jurisdiction in the world to invest and explore – a reputation that until recently was undoubtedly ours. We want to ensure the Canadian mineral industry thrives and is globally competitive in order to responsibly discover and produce the minerals and metals needed for modern society and continue to generate significant economic benefits. Canada’s mineral industry looks forward to working with governments, Indigenous communities and stakeholders towards proactive solutions to enhance Canada’s mineral industry competitiveness,” says PDAC President Glenn Mullan.

“Canada’s mining industry sets the global standard for socially, economically and environmentally responsible mining, and commitments made today by Energy and Mines Ministers, if implemented properly, have the potential to boost these efforts by providing needed support for one of Canada’s most important economic sectors. Further advancement of the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan is an encouraging step forward in addressing some of the challenges our industry is currently facing and for positioning our sector for future success, both within Canada and internationally,” says Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of The Mining Association of Canada.

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