In This Issue
Canada’s Mining Industry Reacts to Budget 2012
Immediately after Minister Flaherty tabled the 2012 budget, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) commended Ottawa’s commitment to modernize federal environmental review processes.
Introducing an “equivalency” concept under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, whereby the federal government can accept a comparable provincial environmental assessment as its own—provided it addresses federal concerns and meets federal standards—will make for a far more efficient process for everyone, without compromising the thoroughness of the review itself. This concept already exists in some provincial environmental assessment legislation and will eliminate the need for two, duplicative reviews for a single project. This will, in turn, save taxpayers, citizens and proponents time and resources. Similarly, fixed timelines for project reviews and assessments, as well as funding renewal for the Major Projects Management Office, will help ensure an efficient, yet thorough assessment process.
Pierre Gratton, MAC’s president and CEO, was quoted by national media, including the Globe and Mail, National Post and BNN highlighting how modernizing Canada’s environmental review and permitting processes will help bring over $140 billion in new investment to Canada’s mining sector over the next five years.
Mining Investment Booming
A recent article in the Globe and Mail
on April 4, 2012 detailed a boom in mining investment in Canada, which was revealed in Statistics Canada’s latest annual survey of business investment. Mining investment has lifted capital spending in the sector to $16 billion, edging close to the $20 billion Canada invests in all of its manufacturing industries.
According to the author, Philip Cross, “mining’s rapid closing-in on manufacturing reflects the continuing flood of money into this sector, not a relative weakness in manufacturing.”
Mining Sector a Hot Market for Jobs
The 2012 budget puts job creation at the fore as many sectors continue to contract. What’s interesting is that, in stark difference, the mining industry is struggling to find enough talent to add to their payrolls.
According to MAC’s latest Facts & Figures 2011 report, the mining industry in Canada employed more than 308,000 people in 2010 and that number continues to climb. Statistics Canada’s latest Labour Force Survey in March 2012 echoes a similar trend. The survey found the natural resources industry had the fastest growth rate of all sectors over the past 12 months—11% or more than 37,000 jobs.
Public Opinion Poll – Mining Benchmark Research 2012
Growing Public Support for Mining
Recently, MAC commissioned Angus Reid to conduct a public opinion poll to gauge Canadian attitudes toward the mining industry in Canada.
The poll reveals that public opinion of the mining industry in Canada is improving. In fact, 3 out of 4 Canadians polled said they have a favourable view of the industry. MAC believes this is largely attributed to Canada’s rich mining history, its improving reputation for sustainability and environmental practices, and its position as a key sector for employment and economic growth.
What Canadians Think:
A majority believes that mining in Canada is conducted to better standards, compared to other parts of the world on a range of indicators (ie. safe working conditions, treatment of workers and responsible environmental practices).
27% say their impression of the mining sector is improving, compared to 16% who say their impression is declining, indicating improvement over time.
Opinion by Party of Mining Companies Operating in Canada:
Majorities give the industry good marks for contributing to Canada’s economy. This includes jobs for Canadians, opportunities for remote communities and healthy returns for investors.
Performance ratings for safety and human rights are also very solid with roughly 75% giving the industry good or acceptable/neutral ratings. Only one in four offer a negative view.
Most Canadians also feel the industry is doing an acceptable or better job at handling environmental issues.
85% of CPC voters are favourable (26% very favourable; 59% somewhat favourable)
71% of NDP voters are favourable (19% very favourable; 52% somewhat favourable)
74% of Liberal voters are favourable (13% very favourable; 61% somewhat favourable)
MAC’s Toward Sustainable Mining Program Wins Industry Award
Last month, MAC was honoured at the PDAC International 2012 Convention with the Environmental and Social Responsibility Award for our flagship initiative, Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM).
Enrolment in MAC’s TSM program is mandatory for all of our members. It was developed in 2004 to improve the mining industry’s performance by helping companies manage their corporate responsibilities for social and environmental sustainability. As part of the program, MAC requires members to report against performance indicators annually to track their progress, and reports are externally verified every three years.
This year, the PDAC Convention set a new attendance record with more than 30,000 participants attending the 80th gathering in Toronto in March.
To view PDAC’s video highlighting the award and TSM’s achievements, click here.