This release is available in French.
WHISTLER, B.C. -- With the economic performance of Canada's mining industry the strongest in many years, federal, provincial and territorial mines ministers concluded the 64th Annual Mines Ministers' Conference today. Ministers agreed to press forward in the key areas of regulatory performance, skills development, technology research, geoscience and Aboriginal engagement. This will support the positive economic outlook for the mining sector and build on the Mining Action Plan for Canada agreed to at last year's conference.
The minerals and metals industry contributed some $40 billion to Canada's GDP and 369,000 jobs for Canadians in 2006. The mining sector is expected to continue its positive economic performance with estimates that exploration expenditures in Canada could reach $2.5 billion in 2007, up 33 percent from the previous year.
"The performance of the mining sector continues to be impressive." said the Honourable Gary Lunn, Minister of Natural Resources. "Governments and industry must continue to work together and improve the competitiveness and sustain growth of Canada's mining industry, while making it a world leader in environmental and corporate responsibility issues."
"I am very encouraged with the progress the provinces, territories and federal government have made on mining issues, particularly with regard to regulatory reform", said Minister Krueger. "It is only by working together that governments, communities, Aboriginal peoples and industry can continue to benefit from a strong and sustainable Canadian mining sector."
Now is the time for governments and industry to focus on the future and prepare for intense global competition and future cyclical downturns. Building on their ongoing commitment to enhance the competitiveness of Canada's mining sector, the Mines Ministers agreed to:
- assess the feasibility of a Resources Sectors Skills and Capacity Table, involving industry and governments, to address the shortage of skilled labour that spans all resource sectors;
- endorse the Canadian Mining Innovation Council and ask that it develop a Pan-Canadian mining research and innovation strategy to be presented at the 2008 Mines Ministers' Conference. Ministers agreed on the need for an overall strategy, adapted to regional needs that maximize the strengths of existing research centres. Science and technological solutions can help the mining sector with many of its challenges, including improving productivity and energy efficiency and protecting worker health and safety and the environment;
- reaffirm their support to strengthen Canada's public geoscience information to stimulate exploration for new mineral resources. New resources are crucial to the continued success of Canada's mining sector.
Ministers unanimously agreed that engagement between governments, Aboriginal peoples, communities, industry and other interested parties is essential to ensuring the long term sustainability of Canada's mining sector. As a result Ministers directed that approaches be explored, including the development of best practices involving government, industry and aboriginal peoples.
As well, the ministers are pleased that mineral exploration companies have received clarification from the Canada Revenue Agency about eligible Canadian Exploration Expenses, which will now include costs of community consultations and baseline environmental assessment studies.
The ministers also discussed several other initiatives pertaining to sustainable mining and environmental protection, including mine closures and site rehabilitation and orphaned and abandoned mines.
Finally, in a joint session of Mines and Energy Ministers, Ministers agreed to support existing and new regulatory improvement processes pertaining to environmental assessments. They also agreed to collaborate with the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment and regulatory agencies to develop solutions to improve the regulatory process, while continuing to take action as individual governments.
The Annual Mines Ministers' Conference is an opportunity for the federal, provincial and territorial mines ministers and mining stakeholders to discuss and plan for the future of mining in Canada. The conference helps to ensure that the benefits of mining are realized in every province and territory, and that opportunities for Canadians in mining continue to grow, now and in the future.
The 65th Annual Mines Ministers Conference will be held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in 2008.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Public Affairs Officer
British Columbia Ministry of Energy
Mines and Petroleum Resources