Ministers agree on growth plan for Canadian mining

The mining plan was agreed upon at the annual Energy and Mines Ministerial Conference

Energy and mines ministers from across Canada have agreed to collaborate on a new minerals, mining and metals plan.

The plan, which was agreed upon at the annual Energy and Mines Ministerial Conference in St. Andrews, N.B. on Aug. 15, aims to position Canada as the leading mining nation worldwide, as well as ensure lasting success. In addition, the plan will include an investment strategy from the domestic minerals and metals industry. Quebec will examine the feasibility of participating in the plan development, taking into consideration its circumstances.

“Our discussions in St. Andrews are laying the foundation so we can benefit from the opportunities that lie ahead. It is clear that Canada’s leadership in the energy and mining sectors depends on collaborative action by government, industry, Indigenous communities and stakeholders at large,” said Rick Doucet, New Brunswick’s minister of Energy and Resource Development. “New Brunswick is embracing responsible development of our resources and the adoption of cleaner energy options to help create jobs and grow our economy.”

Clean mining growth

With the common goal of clean growth, the ministers agreed to a framework or the plan, which includes supporting development, deployment and commercialization of new green mining technology. As well, the plan will improve access and availability to energy data across all jurisdictions; advance energy efficiency and collaborate on transformation strategy in the building sector; and explore new opportunities to advance joint missions to advance trade and investment as well as open new markets.

During the conference, Jim Carr, federal minister of Natural Resources Canada, echoed the plan’s scope in his keynote address.

“We can — and should — be pursuing greater market access, more investments and improved competitiveness for our traditional sources of energy, even as we lead the way on clean growth,” Carr said. “It just requires new approaches, new ways of thinking, with a premium on invention and innovation and imagination.”

He added new clean technology offers Canadian mining firms the opportunity to produce the minerals and metals needed for advancement, as well as using new tech in the industry’s own growth.

“Our mining sector is already among the fastest adopters of advanced green technologies,” Carr said.

Soothing words on NAFTA

On recent trade missions to China, Carr noted an “overlap” in Chinese need for raw materials and Canadian resources. He added similar opportunities exist in the United States, a message he’s delivered numerous times to Rick Perry, the United States secretary of energy.

“My message each time was as simple as it is compelling: nothing is more important to the U.S. economy than access to secure, reliable sources of energy, minerals and metals. And Canada is that source,” Carr said.

With new negotiations for the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) underway, Carr stressed the importance of Canada’s natural resources flowing freely to the United States.

He explained 86 pipelines crisscross the border and 34 transmission lines link the two countries, creating an integrated grid. As well, Canada supplies the most uranium, electricity and 43 per cent of crude oil imports to the United States.

“The good news is that Americans are free traders at heart, too. I’ve met with cabinet secretaries, American CEOs, the U.S. chamber of commerce and union leaders,” Carr said. “Not a single person ever said they wanted more trade barriers.”

In Canada, the minerals industry accounts for 596,000 direct and indirect jobs, including 11,000 positions for First Nations people. Furthermore, mining alone contributes about $2.6 billion in taxes and royalties to various levels of government.

“While Canada is endowed with rich geology, it’s our expertise, our vision and our drive that ensures our continued prosperity as an innovative natural resources leader,” Carr said.