Canada is a global leader in sustainable and innovative mineral resource development, which continues to be a major economic driver across the country, playing a vital role in creating good jobs and supporting middle-class families. Canada’s minerals industry directly and indirectly accounted for 596,000 jobs throughout urban, rural and remote regions of the country in 2016, including more than 11,000 jobs for Indigenous peoples. Canada also remains a prime investment destination and the world's number-one centre for global mining and exploration financing activity, with the Toronto (TSX) and Venture (TSXV) exchanges accounting for almost 50 percent of the equity capital raised globally by the mining industry.
In addition to the direct and indirect benefits it brings to Canadian regions, the mining industry contributes on average a total of $2.6 billion per year in taxes and royalties to governments. These revenues are used to support public services ranging from health care to education. The mining industry provides the building blocks of our everyday lives, from smartphones to electric vehicles, and contributes to Canada’s high standard of living.
Key topics discussed by mines ministers during the conference included enhancing public confidence in mineral development, promoting the participation of Indigenous peoples throughout the mining cycle, supporting mineral exploration by junior mining companies, and building on the mining industry’s success in both the adoption of clean technologies and being a critical supplier of minerals and metals needed for clean growth.
Ministers also noted the recommendations submitted by the Canadian Mineral Industry Federation, focusing on:
Mines ministers discussed the importance of engagement and building partnerships to strengthen relations among Indigenous peoples, industry and governments throughout Canada’s mining industry, recognizing that the participation of Indigenous peoples must be an integral part of the sustainable development of our resources. Ministers announced the publication of common principles for engagement and participation in energy and mineral development and a fact sheet highlighting government efforts to strengthen public confidence of Canadians in how our natural resources are developed , for interested governments to consult.
Ministers also further committed to explore the impact of policy decisions on public confidence and discussed the importance of achieving best practices and global leadership for mine reclamation and environmental protection. The ministers recognized that there are challenges to achieving a common national approach for mine reclamation securities, but due to differences in financial security programs, as well as legislative and confidential requirements across Canada, mines ministers agreed on the importance of ensuring robust protections are in place. They agreed to explore ways to increase public accessibility to reclamation plans and payment details.
Energy and mines ministers committed to working collaboratively in the ongoing review of federal regulatory processes. The Government of Canada is committed to consulting and working with provinces and territories to identify the best path forward, including any potential legislative, regulatory or policy changes required.
Ministers discussed the critical role that Canada’s minerals industry continues to play in the production of clean technologies and renewable energy as the world moves toward a low carbon economy that relies on clean energy sources. They also underlined the importance of adopting new, clean and digital technologies throughout the industry to improve efficiency in mines, reduce waste and increase productivity.
Recognizing that the Canadian mining industry is fully integrated within a global mining sector and highly sensitive to fluctuations in commodity prices and high capital and operational costs, the ministers emphasized the need to enhance opportunities for green mining technology development, deployment and commercialization by increasing collaboration between innovation stakeholders, industry and governments. Ministers endorsed a National Collaboration Strategy for the Mining Industryaimed at facilitating collaboration and accelerating the adoption of green mining technologies and processes in Canada. Mines ministers also launched the Assistant to Mining Innovation, a searchable, online interactive tool that will help prevent duplication, reduce fragmentation and encourage communication and collaboration to support the commercialization and adoption of new green mining technologies and processes.
Mines ministers also recognized the important role that public geoscience plays in supporting mineral exploration by junior mining companies and the future prosperity of Canada’s minerals industry. In particular, the work of the Geological Survey of Canada and the provincial and territorial geological surveys, in collaboration with researchers and scientists from across Canada and the world; increasing publicly available geoscience data; advancing reconciliation; and promoting Indigenous participation and the incorporation of traditional knowledge. This not only supports the exploration industry but also helps inform land-use decision-making for communities.
Recognizing the continued need for strong collaboration, the ministers renewed the Intergovernmental Geoscience Accord for an additional five-year term to ensure that participating provinces, territories and the federal government continue to work together to expand the availability of public geoscience data.1
Ministers also discussed the latest mineral exploration trends and investment climate in Canada’s mining industry, paying special attention to ways of raising capital under challenging market conditions, and using public geoscience to facilitate grassroots exploration by junior mining companies. Mines ministers recognized the importance of junior mining companies in undertaking exploration activities that will lead to Canada’s next generation of mines and the discovery of key sources of minerals and metals needed to develop clean technologies and other new economy applications. Ministers committed to continue providing the important science necessary to make evidence-based decisions concerning resource development at the local, provincial and national levels.
Mines ministers committed to work together on the development of a Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan to help position mineral development in Canada for long-term success. Quebec has agreed to examine the feasibility of participating in the development this plan, taking into consideration its circumstances. The plan will serve as a shared vision for mineral exploration and mining in Canada, rooted in concrete actions that will draw upon Canada’s strengths and collaboration among industry, Indigenous peoples, provincial and territorial governments and civil society. Among other elements, the plan will include a collaborative, national approach to attracting foreign investment into Canada’s minerals and metals industry.
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1. PEI is not a party to the Accord, as it does not have a Geological Survey. Quebec did not sign the Intergovernmental Geoscience Accord but is open to collaborating with other governments in order to improve geoscience knowledge through the exchange of information and best practices.