MAC says mining needs government support to enhance competitiveness

On March 14 the Mining Association of Canada released the latest edition of its annual Facts & Figures report that provides a comprehensive overview of the trends affecting Canada’s mining sector. It contains the unwanted truth that this country’s competitiveness continues to erode.

Canada is losing its ability to seize new opportunities for growth and it is essential the federal and provincial governments take action to reverse this trend, MAC says.

The worrying trends include:

  • Over the past five years, Canada has lost ranking for seven out of 16 commodities for which it had been a top five producer.
  • While Canada remained the world’s top destination for non-ferrous exploration spending in 2017, it continued to cede market share to other jurisdictions, including Australia. This marks the sixth consecutive year that Canada’s share of international exploration investment has fallen.
  • The value of total projects planned and under construction from 2018 to 2028 has reduced by 55% since 2014, from $160 billion to $72 billion.
  • Capital investment in the mining sector has declined each year since 2012, with investment intentions for 2018 in line with this trend.
  • Only four new mining projects, all gold mines, were submitted for federal environmental assessment in 2017 – far below highs seen in 2012-14.
  • In 2016, InfoMine, a mining database, reported that Australia’s identified mining supply sector surpassed that of Canada’s, bumping Canada to third place. In 2017, this gap expanded with Australia adding more than 200 firms to its list. In 2018, Canada was trailing by nearly 800 firms, only adding two firms year-over-year.

Although encouraged by the renewed Mineral Exploration Tax Credit, the enhanced Accelerated Capital Cost Allowances, and the recent Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan, further action is needed says MAC.

“For decades, our industry has been a leader in the production of minerals and metals. A leader in mining services and supplies. A leader in mine finance. A leader in sustainability and safety, but that position is in jeopardy and will be lost without continued, decisive action at both the federal and provincial levels,” concluded Pierre Gratton, MAC president and CEO.

This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal.

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