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Canada's mining sector at a tipping point

Published by , Editorial Assistant
World Coal,

The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has released its annual facts and figures report, a document focused on providing a comprehensive overview of current trends in Canada's mining sector. With growing demand for minerals and metals, and with Canada being a global leader in responsible mining practices, the time is right for the industry to fulfill its potential as a dominant mining nation.

"Around the world, countries want Canadian investment. They want us for how we go about our business, how we work with communities and raise standards," said Pierre Gratton, MAC's President and CEO. "Canada is one of the safest jurisdictions for mining in the world, and we are recognised for bringing these standards, particularly through our Towards Sustainable Mining initiative, and practices wherever we go."

Highlights from the most recent facts and figures report include:

  • In 2018, Canada's mining industry contributed CAN$97 billion, or 5%, to Canada's total nominal GDP.
  • The industry's direct and indirect employment exceeds 620 000 jobs, accounting for one in every 30 jobs in Canada.
  • Proportionally, the mining industry is the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples and provided over 16 600 jobs to community members in 2018.
  • Richly endowed with natural resources, Canada ranks among the top five countries in the global production of 15 minerals and metals.
  • Valued at CAN$105 billion in 2018, mineral exports accounted for 19% of Canada's total domestic exports.

With this good news also comes the need to focus on where the industry still has room to improve and while Canadian mining's y/y competitiveness metrics have improved, they remain depressed in some areas:

  • Capital investment increased modestly - by 5% - to CAN$12.9 billion y/y, following five consecutive previous years of decline.
  • Canada's global share of non-ferrous exploration investment was 15% in 2018 – up 1.3% from 13.7% – but well below the peak of 20.8% in 2008.
  • While showing growth of 5% (or CAN$8 billion) y/y, NRCan's 10 year projected value of mining projects planned and under construction remains 50% below 2014 levels, from CAN$160 billion to CAN$80 billion.
  • Only five new mining projects were submitted for federal Environmental Assessment review in 2019 – well below average levels seen from 2012 - 2014.

"As I look to the new parliament, I see an opportunity to work with government decision makers from all parties to ensure mining is prioritised. The prospects for Canadian investment, and for making a tangible difference in Canada's attractiveness for new mine investment, have become a lot better," concluded Gratton.

"We feel energised by a number of recent commitments pertaining to mining, including in Prime Minister Trudeau's most recent mandate letters to his cabinet, the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan and the new Canada-US Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration, all of which bode well for our industry. If we seize these opportunities effectively, a new era may well be upon us, one we haven't seen in many years."

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