Canadians have always believed that the best way to predict the future is to create it. That is what we are doing with Canada’s mining sector. Through the abundance of our resources and the resourcefulness of our people, we are making Canada the world’s undisputed leader in mining. It is already happening.
In 2017, the World Bank ranked Canada the second best nation for economic freedom and investor protection, one of the many reasons there is a broad international consensus that Canada is the best place to invest in natural resources. Canada’s welcoming business environment, which encourages the sustainable exploration and development of a rich endowment of minerals and metals, has led to the production of more than 60 minerals and metals across the country. Combined with the lowest effective tax rates in the G7, the most highly educated workforce in the OECD, and more than CDN$13bn in annual exploration, Canada is fertile ground for mining success.
This is the result of the hard work Canada has done to create an attractive investment climate. We have the most highly educated workforce in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and unmatched access to global markets through free-trade agreements, such as the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement.
All told, Canada’s exporters enjoy preferred market access to more than 1.5 billion consumers and almost two-thirds of global GDP ($50.9tn).
This has made Canada a trusted destination for mining investors looking for a strong return on their capital. In fact, Canada’s stock exchanges are home to half of the world’s mining corporations, and much of the global equity financing for mining and mineral exploration.
The result is that more than 100 mining-related projects have either been announced or are under construction across Canada, representing $72bn in investments. To build on this, we have introduced a new approach for reviewing major resource projects that will enhance investment certainty through a more timely, predictable and transparent process.
The Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan
We understand that to remain a global leader and to keep accruing global foreign direct investment, Canada must keep improving its game and its competitive position. That is why our government, together with Canada’s provinces and territories, is working with industry, consulting with Canadians, and engaging indigenous groups to develop the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan.
The plan will update Canada’s mining vision and build off its natural advantage as a leader in sustainable resource development by tackling today’s priorities, including climate change, indigenous reconciliation and sustainable job creation. In a world increasingly looking for products that are responsibly developed and socially inclusive, this is a competitive edge for Canada.
In terms of minerals and metals, Canada has a number of competitive strengths that have made it a world leader. The plan – to be released this year – will identify actions across a number of strategic directions that will further enhance Canada’s minerals and metals competitiveness.
The Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan will also reflect the advantage Canada enjoys with an abundance of the resources that will drive the low-carbon economy and create thousands of new jobs – including lithium, graphite, cobalt and the rare earth elements that are the raw materials for making everything from solar cells and wind turbines to batteries for electric cars.
All of this comes as Canada’s mining industry already operates some of the lowest-polluting, highest-tech and most socially-responsible mining operations in the world. A few examples of our world class leadership include a joint Alcoa-Rio Tinto project in the province of Quebec, which is creating the world’s first zero-carbon aluminium smelter and the Goldcorp Borden mine, which will be world’s first all-electric gold mine in Ontario.
Our government is supporting this private sector innovation with generational investments to accelerate the adoption of clean technology. This includes challenging Canada’s mining industry to reduce its energy intensity and the environmental impacts of comminution-based mineral processing through our “Crush It!” challenge. To ensure we leave no stone unturned, we are backing up our challenge with a CDN $10m prize for the most innovative approach.
By tackling Canada’s mining future in a comprehensive way, we are creating the prosperity all Canadians want, while protecting the planet we all cherish.
About the author
Paul Lefebvre is Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Natural Resources at the Department of Natural Resources Canada.