Evaluation of the Minerals and Metals Markets, Investment and Innovation Sub-Activity

Table of Contents

Acronyms

AANDC "Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
ADM Assistant Deputy Minister
BMC Branch Management Committee
CIDA Canadian International Development Agency
CMIC Canada Mining Innovation Council
COE Centre of Excellence
CRA Canada Revenue Agency
CSR Corporate Social Responsibility
DFAIT Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
DG Director General
DM Deputy Minister
DPR Departmental Performance Report
EU European Union
FDI Foreign Direct Investment
FIPA Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement
FTA Free Trade Agreement
FPTCMS Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Mineral Statistics
FTE Full-Time Equivalent
FY Fiscal Year
GoC Government of Canada
IGF Intergovernmental Forum
IGWG Intergovernmental Working Group
ISO International Organization for Standardization
MAC Mining Association of Canada
MEND Mine Environment Neutral Drainage
MMMII Minerals and Metals Markets, Investment and Innovation Sub-Activity
MMMKB Minerals, Metals and Materials Knowledge Branch
MMMPB Minerals, Metals and Materials Policy Branch
MMS Minerals and Metals Sector
MOU Memorandum of Understanding
NOAMI National Orphaned/Abandoned Mines Initiative
NRCan Natural Resources Canada
OGD Other Government Department
PAA Program Activity Architecture
PDAC Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
PTG Provincial/Territorial Government
RPP Report on Plans and Priorities
S&T Science & Technology
SED Strategic Evaluation Division
USGS United States Geological Survey
UNCSD United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development
UNCTAD United Nation Commission on Trade and Development
WTO World Trade Organization

Executive Summary

Introduction

This report is an evaluation of the Minerals and Metals Markets, Investment and Innovation (MMMII) Sub-Activity of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). The purpose of the evaluation was to assess issues relating to the relevance and performance of all components of the MMMII, as per the Treasury Board Policy on the Evaluation Function (2009). The evaluation covers activities of four MMMII components, representing approximately $83.1 million in NRCan expenditures between 2007-08 and 2011-12.

The Sub-Activity (established in 2008) was designed to assist in the coordination and increased coherence for jurisdictions and stakeholders to make decisions that position the minerals and mining sector to remain competitive.Footnote 1 The programs and activities under the Sub-Activity have the overall objective of ensuring that Canada’s resource sectors are internationally competitive, economically productive, and contribute to the social well-being of Canadians.Footnote 2 More specifically, the Sub-Activity works to:

  • support a strong Canadian investment climate;
  • coordinate national policies and programs affecting the Canadian minerals and metals sector;
  • develop technologies allowing Canada’s mining and metals industries to successfully compete in a global market place; and
  • maintain access to global markets through participation in the Kimberley ProcessFootnote 3 and international fora.

The MMMII Sub-Activity consists of seven divisions under two branches and select activities within two laboratories. A brief overview of the four components of the MMMII Sub-Activity is provided below.

1. Minerals, Metals and Materials Knowledge Branch divisions:

  • the Industry and Economics Taxation Division has responsibility for fiscal and investment analysis, mineral exploration analysis, industry and economic analysis, and tax rulings and expert opinions to the Canada Revenue Agency;
  • the Industry and Commodity Analysis Division is responsible for recycling, commodity analysis, the Kimberley Process, environmental policy, and international trade issues involving minerals and metals;
  • the Minerals and Mining Statistics Division is responsible for statistics on mineral exploration, production and use as well as trade data analysis; and
  • the Scientific and Technical Publishing and Knowledge Dissemination Division is responsible for publications and knowledge dissemination including web site management.

2. Minerals, Metals and Materials Policy Branch divisions:

  • the Sustainable Mining and Materials Policy Division works with government and industry partners on strategic policy priorities;
  • the Strategic Outreach and Partnerships Division promotes and develops relationships with key stakeholders globally; and
  • the Sectoral Coordination and Planning Division serves as the main liaison for coordination internally.

3. Projects under CanmetMINING are dealing with mineral extraction and mineral processing. In addition to these projects, CanmetMINING is also responsible for the implementation of the Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC).

4. Projects under the CanmetMATERIALS are dealing with ecomaterials. The relocation of CanmetMATERIALS to Hamilton also fell under this Sub-Activity. Given that the relocation had only just been completed, it largely was scoped out of this evaluation except for a very general overview. As of 2011-12, all of these activities fell under a different Sub-Activity of the Program Activity Architecture (PAA).

Context

NRCan’s Minerals and Metals Sector (MMS) is the government’s lead authority on minerals and metals-related economic and scientific knowledge. The MMMII is a Sub-Activity within MMS designed to support a strong investment climate through a suite of collaborative activities with other jurisdictions and the minerals and metals industry. In 2008, a sectoral renewal occurred during which MMS was reorganized to align with, and support NRCan’s new vision and policy framework, as well as to deliver on government priorities. Thus, most activities included in the MMMII were conducted by MMS prior to 2008, but under a different organizational structure and PAA units.

Each branch of MMMII is overseen by a director general (DG) who reports to the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) for MMS. Several senior managers are responsible for the governance and administration of specific components of the MMMII. No single director general is responsible for overseeing the MMMII as a whole.

The MMMII Sub-Activity underwent further restructuring, effective from the beginning of the fiscal year 2012-13. Under the new structure, the MMMII Sub-Activity programming has been divided into three separate sub-activities to work independently toward common objectives. Thus, while the evaluation assessed the MMMII Sub-Activity as a whole, an effort was made to separate the findings, results and recommendations at the level of individual MMMII components to reflect the new organizational structure and PAA.

Evaluation Issues and Methodology

The evaluation was conducted in 2011 and early 2012 and included: a document review; key information interviews (n=48); focused telephone surveys of decision-makers and users of the information produced by the Knowledge Branch and Policy Branch (n=57); case studies of CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS projects (n=6); and case studies of Policy Branch and Knowledge Branch projects (n=4).

It is important to note that the CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS Science and Technology (S&T) activities within MMS were recently evaluated for the period 2002-03 to 2006-07.Footnote 4 The evaluation of the MMMII was therefore designed to build on this previous work and avoid overlap (i.e., not examine specific projects that have already been evaluated). This was the first evaluation of the non-S&T components within the MMMII.

The evaluation encountered several challenges in the process of scheduling interviews with internal and external stakeholders and with the collection of documents. To mitigate these challenges, back-up contacts were interviewed wherever available; efforts were also made to identify additional relevant documents online from NRCan and other government department (OGD) web sites.

The evaluation encountered great difficulty in obtaining financial data and detailed project data for the Sub-Activity in a timely manner. In addition, while evidence from interviews and internal documentation noted declining funding and resulting resource challenges over time, the available financial data showed consistent expenditures over the evaluation period. Every effort was made to search out additional information and cross-check the available evidence with additional evidence whenever possible.

Relevance

The MMMII Sub-Activity contributes to maintaining and enhancing a globally competitive, strong and sustainable mining industry in Canada, for which there is an ongoing need. The MMMII Sub-Activity components reflect and address the needs and priorities of most stakeholders through the provision of enabling and unique products and services.

Continued Need for the Sub Activity and its Programs

The MMMII Sub-Activity addresses the needs and priorities of stakeholders, partners and clients in the minerals and metals sector through the provision of enabling and unique services. The operations and activities of the Canadian mining industry generate considerable economic activities. However, the industry operates in a complex environment involving a diverse group of stakeholders and multiple jurisdictions within and outside Canada. The MMMII Sub-Activity is designed and delivered to support the strategically important mining industry in a coordinated and complementary manner.

Alignment with Government Priorities and NRCan’s Strategic Objectives

Through a collaborative and consultative approach, the MMMII Sub-Activity contributes to enhancing industry competitiveness, supporting economic growth, developing natural resources, and promoting sustainable development by addressing environmental issues, both nationally and internationally. NRCan staff and external stakeholders noted that there is a strong alignment between the activities carried out by the Policy Branch, Knowledge Branch, CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS under the MMMII Sub-Activity and the overall NRCan mandate, NRCan’s strategic objectives and Government of Canada priorities.

Alignment with Federal Roles and Responsibilities

The involvement of the federal government in the MMMII Sub-Activity is required to meet legislative and regulatory requirements, the need for national coordination and international representation, as well as to complement the roles and responsibilities of other government and industry stakeholders in the minerals and metals sector.

Based on the evaluation evidence, it is important that NRCan maintain its role in the minerals, metals and mining S&T, policy-making and knowledge and statistics dissemination as the Department has unique expertise and a position in the sector that could not be replaced by industry, academia or provinces/territories.

Performance

Information produced and facilitated by the MMMII Sub-Activity are relevant, useful and timely and facilitate decision-making for a diverse group of internal and external stakeholders. In spite of this, there is limited awareness of, and access to such information and this hinders the achievement of the intended outcomes of the MMMII Sub-Activity.

Achievement of Expected Outcomes

The activities carried out under the MMMII Sub-Activity have made considerable progress towards the intended outcomes by producing and disseminating a wide variety of minerals and metals sector information, establishing and supporting various national and international collaborative initiatives, and identifying S&T gaps and setting priorities.

Internal and external stakeholders use the various data and related analyses generated by the MMMII Sub-Activity (primarily by the Knowledge and the Policy branches) to inform decision-making on a wide range of issues pertaining to the minerals and metals sector, as described below. The data and analyses produced by the MMMII Sub-Activity are generally reported by users (NRCan staff and external stakeholders) to be relevant, adequate, useful, and timely.

The MMMII Sub-Activity indirectly contributes to efforts facilitating international market access for Canadian mining companies. International markets and regulations concerning minerals and metals are influenced by numerous factors external to NRCan and Canada. Therefore, the impacts in this area cannot be attributed directly to the MMMII Sub-Activity. However, both the Policy and Knowledge branches of the MMMII Sub-Activity support maintaining and increasing Canada’s access to global minerals and metals markets.

The MMMII Sub-Activity (mainly through CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS) has contributed to a number of collaborative initiatives and mechanisms that facilitate greater intersectoral alignment and coordination of Canadian minerals and metals S&T and innovation activities. CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS initiatives and activities have also effectively generated and transferred S&T knowledge to external partners and stakeholders. However, there are still opportunities to increase awareness of the data and analyses produced and facilitated by the MMMII Sub-Activity for greater reach and usage.

Overall, the relocation of CanmetMATERIALS in 2011 appears to have been managed well and, based on early signs, the long-term outlook seems positive.

Demonstration of Efficiency and Economy

Overall, the design and delivery of the MMMII Sub-Activity is efficient with some room for improvement in communication and planning. With respect to the economy of the MMMII, more information is required to confirm or refute the concerns reported by staff and external stakeholders over resource challenges.

Branches and divisions either do not appear to have a formal strategic planning process in place to identify and focus on priorities or are not making full use of the planning process that does exist. In addition, the high prevalence of ad hoc and unanticipated assignments, often with tight deadlines, makes it difficult to carry out activities as planned. Furthermore, shifts in federal government priorities lead to programming and resource allocation changes. This results in shifting focus on priorities and encountering challenges in meeting long-term goals and outcomes.

NRCan staff and external stakeholders noted that the roles and responsibilities with regard to the individual components of the MMMII Sub-Activity are not always clearly defined and understood. Many NRCan staff reported confusion and a lack of clarity over the separation of the functions and some indicated that the separation was counterproductive. Some external stakeholders also reported confusion over the roles of the Knowledge Branch and the Policy Branch. Furthermore, there is a lack of integrated planning, coordination and communication internally among the MMMII components, resulting in missed opportunities for synergies.

Performance measurement for the Policy Branch is particularly challenging as branch activities generally contribute to long-term and often complex initiatives by informing, briefing and advising other entities that, in turn, make policy decisions. Consequently, the eventual outcomes of the initiatives cannot be directly attributed to Policy Branch activities.

A review of documents indicated that the Knowledge Branch takes efforts to measure, track and report on performance, however, there are ongoing challenges associated with tracking and managing staff time spent on multiple projects or tasks.

CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS do have a system in place to track and report on the outcomes of project activity; however, the use of such tools does not appear to be consistent across all laboratory staff.

Internal and external interviewees expressed concerns over the loss of staff over the years, restrictions on travel, and the introduction of new responsibilities (e.g., administration of the Kimberley Process) without the provision of any additional resources.

Estimated expenditures for the MMMII Sub-Activity totalled approximately $83.1 million dollars from 2007-08 to 2011-12, while estimated personnel resources averaged approximately 140 full-time equivalents (FTE) per year. The data appear to show a significant increase in expenditures in 2007-08, and a significant decline in 2011-12. However, these changes are explained by the reorganization of MMS in 2008, and CanmetMATERIALS moving to a different Sub-Activity in 2011-12. Virtually all NRCan staff interviewed referred to declining funding and resource challenges over time, but detailed financial information (including revenue sources) to confirm this was not available.

Recommendations Management Responses and Action Plans Responsible Official/Sector
(Target Date)
Management appreciates and agrees with the Evaluation finding that the MMMII Sub-Activity contributes to maintaining and enhancing a globally competitive, strong and sustainable mining industry in Canada, for which there is an ongoing need. Management appreciates and agrees with the Evaluation finding that MMMII is aligned with Government of Canada priorities and NRCan’s mandate. Management appreciates and agrees with the Evaluation finding that the federal government role in the MMMII Sub-Activity is legitimate, appropriate and necessary.

It is the view of MMS Senior Management that the Sector has a robust governance and management regime that has delivered efficiently and effectively on the objectives of the MMMII sub-activity as it has on all of its activities and priorities, and that there are opportunities for further strengthening these areas while being cognizant of fiscal realities.
1. NRCan should ensure clear communication of the mandate, roles and responsibilities of each MMMII component (especially for the Policy and Knowledge branches) internally and externally. While the recommendation is accepted, it should be noted that management has an established suite of internal management committees to create regular and ongoing dialogue among managers to ensure that each branch and division has an opportunity to communicate openly and effectively with colleagues on their work and priorities. These include weekly ADM-led senior management meetings, weekly ADM-DG meetings, and regular management retreats.

In addition, the Sector has implemented internal project management practices that encourage greater communication among managers on individual projects and their progress. The introduction of this practice has led to a greater understanding among managers of the work of their peers and colleagues and, as a result, has improved awareness of mandate, roles and responsibilities across the Sector.

MMS management continues to ensure clearer communication of the mandate, roles and responsibilities of each MMMII component. For example, changes to the departmental Program Activity Architecture have brought greater clarity to the MMMII mandate.

Management actions include:

With the vacant position of the Policy Branch DG, the two branches are reporting to a single DG in an interim capacity, sharing branch management meetings, and increasing overall interaction between the divisional staff, providing increased opportunity to develop a common understanding of the mandate and roles in the delivery of the Sector’s priorities.

The MMS Policy, Science and Technology (PST) Forum and the DG-level PST Committee provide effective mechanisms for information sharing, closer collaboration and the development of synergies amongst MMMII activity components.

CanmetMATERIAL’s work is no longer in MMMII; however, its five-year business plan articulates mandate, roles and responsibilities and directly links the work of its scientific staff and projects with the related PAA element. This is communicated to all staff during ongoing briefing sessions, individual management team member engagement with staff, and the performance management for each employee.

The Sector has recently completed an Integrated Business Plan, which more clearly lays out specific roles and responsibilities for each component of the MMMII and will ultimately improve communication of the Sub-Activity.
ADM, Minerals and Metals Sector
(March 2013)
2. NRCan should continue to improve stakeholder identification, outreach and engagement with respect to each MMMII component. It is the view of MMS management that stakeholder engagement and outreach is a strength across the Sector and that the MMS and Canmet brand are well recognized in the mining industry. Overall, MMS has strong relationships with governments, businesses, research performers and other communities of interest, but must make strategic choices about the focus of our scientific, technological and policy work, the partners with whom we collaborate, technology transfer and other efforts to support and accelerate market uptake.

Management actions include:

The CANMET Mining (CMIN) 2008-2013 Branch Business Plan contains specific performance indicators for enhanced outreach, industry, academic and international collaboration. CMIN is in the process of developing an outreach strategy.

Within the Policy Branch, the role of two FTEs has been expanded to work more closely with industry to coordinate and better align our activities with external stakeholders at venues such as the Mineral Exploration Round-Up and the Prospectors and Developers Annual Conference (PDAC). Their active involvement in coordinating the Sector’s involvement in these events in the future will increase the bilateral and multi-lateral interaction between the Sector and stakeholders.

Responsibilities of CanmetMATERIALS (CMAT) program managers include the requirement that they work to connect with key stakeholders. Stakeholder engagement is done primarily through the research programs (automotive, power generation, pipelines and emerging materials) and in specialty areas such as steel. Stakeholder identification, outreach and engagement are included as metrics in the CMAT annual performance measurement exercise, which is linked to the CMAT Business Plan, thus ensuring continuous improvement.
ADM, Minerals and Metals Sector
(March 2013)
3. NRCan should take appropriate steps to ensure that internal collaboration opportunities among the MMMII components, as well as with other sub-activities, are more consistently identified and realized. Related to the management response to recommendation #1, the Sector is beginning to benefit from internal project management practices that are encouraging collaboration and creating synergies across the Sector and are yielding stronger and better informed products.

Examples of this collaboration include: the development of the Sector’s international strategy; the analysis it has provided on emerging markets such as India; the development of papers on Rare Earth Element; and Mining Opportunities in the North, which are multi-dimensional and provide reliable economic analysis, scientific evidence and sound policy advice.

Similarly, improved communication between the Knowledge and Policy branches within MMS, the newly-formed MMS Policy, Science and Technology (PST) Forum, the DG-level PST Committee, and the new MMS Integrated Business Plan will provide opportunities for information sharing, closer collaboration, and the development of synergies amongst MMMII activity components.
ADM, Minerals and Metals Sector
(March 2013)
4. NRCan should reinforce ongoing efforts to augment performance measurement for each MMMII component. MMS has a robust management regime and is in full compliance with federal and departmental planning and reporting requirements, including complete alignment with the departmental Integrated Business Plan and the Management Accountability Framework.

While management accepts this recommendation, it should be noted that a significant amount of work in the Sub-Activity is related to informing, briefing, and advising other entities that, in turn, make decisions which is inherently challenging and difficult to benchmark and measure.

Management actions include:

Through the development and ongoing implementation of Sector and branch-level integrated business plans, management is working to develop a comprehensive suite of performance measurements for each MMMII component.

The Sector has implemented internal project management practices that report on the time and financial resources spent on projects, allowing reporting on progress and performance.

CanmetMATERIALS performance metrics were created in response to a Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) recommendation as part of the relocation (and the relocation was part of MMMII). Going forward, CMAT is currently developing its next five-year business plan, and performance metrics are being re-evaluated as part of that process.
ADM, Minerals and Metals Sector
(March 2013)
5. NRCan should better track, report and utilize financial data for each MMMII component in order to support decision-making and identify appropriate improvements to their efficiency and economy. Accepted. MMS uses the same financial tracking system as does all of NRCan and, in line with the observations of the evaluators, has observed limitations in the degree of granularity of analysis this system allows, which is a systematic issue that all NRCan sectors have experienced. It should be noted that NRCan’s financial tracking system underwent a transition from one software system to another during the evaluation period. The new Felix/SAP financial system has important limitations for certain types of project-related transactions and MMS continues to be represented on the Project Management Task Team (PMTT) that is working to address these limitations. All financial tracking is aligned with the departmental Program Activity Architecture. MMS continues to work towards developing clearer and more comprehensive financial tracking systems for key activities such as MMMII. ADM, Minerals and Metals Sector
(March 2014)

1.0 Introduction and Background

1.1 Introduction

This is an evaluation of the Minerals and Metals Markets, Investment and Innovation (MMMII) Sub-Activity of Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). The purpose of the evaluation was to assess issues relating to the relevance and performance of all components of the MMMII, as per the Treasury Board Secretariat Directive on the Evaluation Function (2009). The evaluation covers the activities of the components that fall under the Sub-Activity, representing approximately $83.1 million in NRCan expenditures between 2006-07 and 2011-12. MMMII consists of parts of two branches and two laboratories. A brief overview of the components of the MMMII Sub-Activity is provided below.

1. Divisions under the Minerals, Metals and Materials Knowledge Branch (MMMKB) ($38.5 million):

  • The Industry and Economics Taxation Division has responsibility for fiscal and investment analysis, mineral exploration analysis, industry and economic analysis, and tax rulings and expert opinions to the Canada Revenue Agency;
  • the Industry and Commodity Analysis Division is responsible for recycling, commodity analysis, the Kimberley Process, environmental policy, and international trade issues involving minerals and metals;
  • the Minerals and Mining Statistics Division is responsible for statistics on mineral exploration, production and use as well as trade data analysis; and
  • the Scientific and Technical Publishing and Knowledge Dissemination Division is responsible for publications and knowledge dissemination including web site management.

2. Divisions under the Minerals, Metals and Materials Policy Branch (MMMPB) ($21.9 million):

  • the Sustainable Mining and Materials Policy Division works with government and industry partners on strategic policy priorities;
  • the Strategic Outreach and Partnerships Division promotes and develops relationships with key stakeholders globally; and
  • the Sectoral Coordination and Planning Division serves as the main liaison for coordination internally.

3. CanmetMINING ($15.9 million) projects focused on mineral extraction and processing research projects as well as activities concerning the Canadian Mining Innovation Council (in association with the Policy Branch).

4 CanmetMATERIALS ($6.8 million) projects related to ecomaterials materials.

MMMII activities take place in several locations including laboratories and administrative offices at:

  • Booth Street in the National Capital Region (NCR) (MMMKP, MMMPB, CanmetMINING);
  • CanmetMINING facilities at Bells Corners in the NCR;
  • CanmetMINING facilities in Sudbury, Ontario;
  • CanmetMINING facilities in Val d’Or, Quebec; and
  • CanmetMATERIALS facilities in Ottawa and Hamilton, Ontario.

A detailed overview of these four components of the MMMII Sub-Activity is provided in Appendix B.

1.2 Context

In Canada, the mining industry is a major driver of national prosperity, accounting for a $35.1 billion contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010,Footnote 5 and contributing on average about 5 percent to the country’s GDP over the last five years.Footnote 6 Canada produces more than 60 minerals and metals, and is also one of the world’s leading exporters of these products. According to the Metals Economics Group, over the past decade, Canada has been the most preferred place in the world for mineral exploration. The total value of Canadian mineral exports was $84.5 billion in 2010, accounting for 21 percent of Canada’s total exports. More than 320,000 Canadians are currently employed in the mining and mineral processing industries.Footnote 7 The Canadian mining sector is highly competitive,Footnote 8 involves multiple stakeholders and is managed by multiple jurisdictions, all of which require information to make informed decisions.Footnote 9

Provincial and territorial governments that generally own the mineral rights within their borders are also involved in the minerals and metal sector. Individuals or companies subsequently lease these rights, and are therefore the other group of important players in the minerals and metals marketplace. Under the Constitution, the regulation of mining activities on publicly-owned mineral leases falls under provincial/territorial government jurisdiction.Footnote 10

NRCan’s Minerals and Metals Sector (MMS) is the government’s lead authority on minerals and metals-related economic and scientific knowledge. The MMMII is a Sub-Activity within MMS that was designed to support a strong investment climate through a suite of collaborative activities with other jurisdictions and the minerals and metals industry.

1.3 Overview of the Minerals and Metals Markets, Innovation and Investment Sub-Activity

1.3.1 The PAA for the MMMII Sub-Activity

MMMII is element 1.1.1 of the 2011-12 PAA, falling under NRCan’s Strategic Outcome 1 – Economic Competitiveness (Natural resource sectors are internationally competitive, economically productive and contribute to the social well-being of Canadians)Footnote 11

1.3.2 Objectives for the MMMII Sub-Activity

The MMMII Sub-Activity was designed to assist in the coordination of the federal and provincial/territorial policies and programs affecting the minerals and metals sector in Canada, developing technologies to allow Canada’s mining and value-added metals industries to compete successfully in the global marketplace, and working to maintain access to global markets through participation in the Kimberley Process and international fora. The programs and activities under MMMII have the overall objective of ensuring that Canada’s resource sectors are internationally competitive, economically productive, and contribute to the social well-being of Canadians.Footnote 12 More specifically, MMMII works to:

  • support a strong Canadian investment climate;
  • coordinate national policies and programs affecting the Canadian minerals and metals sector;
  • develop technologies allowing Canada’s mining and metals industries to successfully compete in a global market place; and
  • maintain access to global markets through participation in the Kimberley ProcessFootnote 13 and international fora.

In engaging in activities that fulfill these goals, the MMMII also supports NRCan’s recent commitment to sustainable development and corporate social responsibility, two essential facets of economic success.Footnote 14

1.3.3 Sub-Activity Program Activity Structure

The MMMII is implemented across four different components (branches and laboratories) within NRCsan’s MMS:

  • Minerals, Metals and Materials Knowledge Branch (Knowledge Branch);
  • Minerals, Metals and Materials Policy Branch (Policy Branch);
  • CANMET Mining and Mineral Sciences Laboratories (CanmentMINING); and
  • CANMET Materials Technology Laboratory (CanmetMATERIALS).

Each of these branches/laboratories has individual programs or activities that are included in the MMMII. A visual representation of these components is provided in Figure 1.

Figure 1 Organizational structure and interactions between MMMII components

Organizational structure and interactions between MMMII components

Larger image

Functionally, MMMII is divided into two sub-sub activities:Footnote 15

Text version - figure 1

Figure 1

Figure 1 outlines the organization structure and interactions between the components of MMMII. It divides components between the Sub-Activity, Sub-sub Activity, Branch/Lab and Component levels.

At the Sub-Activity Level is MMMII (PAA 1.1.1).

At the Sub-sub Activity Level is Mining Scientific Research and Innovations (PAA 1.1.1.1) and Socio-economic Minerals and Metals Research and Knowledge for Investments and Access to Global Markets (PAA 1.1.1.2). Both these Sub-Activities engage in information sharing.

At the Branch/Lab Level are CanmetMATERIALS, CanmetMINING (both falling under PAA 1.1.1.1), Minerals, Metals and Materials Policy Branch (MMMPB), and Minerals Metals and Materials Knowledge Branch (KKKKB) (both falling under PAA 1.1.1.2). Note that CanmetMINING includes facilities on Booth Street (Ottawa), in Bell’s Corners, in Sudbury and in Val d’Or.

At the Component level, falling under CanmetMATERIALS are the Ecomaterials S&T (core and cost-recovery) projects. Falling under CanmentMINING are the Mineral Processing S&T (core and cost-recovery) projects; the Mineral Extraction S&T (core and cost-recovery) projects; and the Implementation of the CMIC (which is also connected to the MMMPB). Under MMMPB is Strategic Outreach and Partnerships (SOPD); Sustainable Mining and Materials Policy (SMMPD); and Sectoral Coordination and Planning (SCPD), which interacts with all MMS units. Under MMMKB is Industry Economics and Taxation (IETD); Industry and Commodity Analysis (ICAD); Minerals and Mining Statistics (MMSD); and S&T Publications and Knowledge Dissemination (STPKDD).

The figure also notes that the relocation and rejuvenation of MTL was formerly PAA 1.1.1.3 of the MMMII Sub-Activity.

Mining Scientific Research and Innovations (1.1.1.1): This primarily includes the CanmentMINING and CanmetMATERIALS activities under MMMII, along with a small portion of the Policy Branch dealing with the implementation of the CMIC. According to the document and literature review, Canada’s research and development (R&D) for mining activities are fragmented and competition among the various stakeholders for limited funding does not provide a coherent and strategic approach to R&D activities in the mining sector. This Sub-sub Activity aligns mining stakeholders’ and decision-makers’ requirements through R&D with the aim to provide the technological innovations that stimulate the international competitiveness of the Canadian mining industry. It also covers innovative technology development, such as ground control technologies, to ensure economic competitiveness through efficient and safe mining extraction. Innovations are stimulated through collaboration with industry stakeholders such as the Canadian Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) and other mining affiliations.

Socio-economic Minerals and Metals Research and Knowledge for Investments and Access to Global Markets (1.1.1.2): This primarily includes the activities of the Knowledge and Policy branches under the MMMII Sub-Activity. The Canadian mining sector is impacted by fluctuations in economic conditions and trends in mineral and metal exploration and exploitation and requires unbiased, evidence-based and objective information for informed decision-making. This Sub-sub Activity works to maximize decision-making that encourages investment and participation in domestic and global markets. This is achieved through research and analysis that ensures that stakeholders have access to authoritative, evidence-based and unbiased information, partnerships and processes as well as timely and reliable data, statistics, knowledge and policy advice.

1.3.4 Key Stakeholders and Beneficiaries

Key stakeholders of the Mining Scientific Research and Innovations Sub-sub Activity comprise minerals, metals, and mining industries, minerals and mining associations (e.g., the Mining Association of Canada, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada), mining equipment companies and academic and/or research institutions (e.g., McMaster University in the Hamilton region). These stakeholders collaborate with or contract MMS CANMET laboratories (CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS) to carry out applied research and develop technologies that will advance MMS-related industries.

The main beneficiaries of the Socio-economic Minerals and Metals Research and Knowledge for Investments and Access to Global Markets Sub-sub Activity are: other federal departments and agencies (e.g., Statistics Canada, Canada Revenue Agency, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Canada Border Service Agency); provincial and territorial governments that are responsible for the legislation and management of mining activities within their borders; and the minerals, metals and mining industries. Internal to NRCan, key MMMII stakeholders include most particularly the branches and divisions within MMS, as well as senior officials and the Minister. More broadly, MMMII benefits also municipal governments, mining communities, Canadian embassies, posts and high commissions, Aboriginal groups and remote communities, and non-governmental organizations and other interest groups.

1.3.5 Governance of the MMMII Sub-Activity

Each branch of MMMII is overseen by a director general (DG) who reports to the ADM for MMS. A variety of senior managers are responsible for the governance and administration of specific components of the MMMII. No single director general is responsible for overseeing the MMMII as a whole. The Sectoral Coordination and Planning Division (SCPD) of the Policy Branch serves as the central coordination and planning point for all branches within MMS.

2.0 Resources

2.1 Expenditures and FTEs

The evaluation experiences difficulties in obtaining detailed and consistent financial data for the MMMII components. Tracking the financial resources of MMMII is challenging given the nature of the Sub-Activity. Projects and activities are spread across two branches, several divisions and parts of two labs (including both cost recovery and core projects). Estimated expenditures for the MMMII Sub-Activity totalled approximately $83.1 million from 2007-08 to 2011-12, while estimated FTEs averaged 140 per year. Funding per component was as follows:

  • Minerals, Metals and Materials Knowledge Branch (MMMKB): $38.5 million, (47 percent);
  • Minerals, Metals and Materials Policy Branch (MMMPB): $21.9 million, (26 percent);
  • Mining and Mineral Sciences Laboratories (CanmetMINING): $15.9 million, (19 percent); and
  • Materials Technology Laboratory (CanmetMATERIALS): $6.8 million (eight percent).

Estimated MMMII expenditures and FTEs are provided in Tables 1 and 2. The data show a significant increase in expenditures, in 2008-09, and a significant decline in 2011-12. However, these changes may be related to the reorganization of MMS in 2008, and the move of the CanmetMATERIALS ecomaterials projects out of MMMII in 2011-12. Virtually all NRCan staff interviewed referred to declining funding and resource challenges over time. However, detailed financial information (including revenue sources) to confirm this was not available.

Table 1: Estimated MMMII Expenditures by Components, 2007-08 to 2011-12 ($000s)
Branch/Lab 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Total
Knowledge Branch 5,132 8,821 8,675 8,235 7,613 38,476
Policy Branch 2,935 4,587 5,094 4,666 4,626 21,908
CanmetMINING 1,947 4,336 2,877 3,952 2,814 15,926
CanmetMATERIALS 2,455 1,388 1,550 1,432 * 6,825
Total 12,469 19,132 18,196 18,285 15,213 83,135

Source: MMS, August 2012. * CanmetMATERIALS ecomaterials projects moved out of MMMII in 2011-12.

Table 2: Estimated MMMII FTEs by Components, 2007-08 to 2011-12
Branch/Lab 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Total
Knowledge Branch 49 81 81 81 77 369
Policy Branch -- 25 23 23 34 105
CanmetMINING 19 21 45 48 52 185
CanmetMATERIALS 10 10 10 10 * 40
Total 78 137 159 162 163 699

Source: MMS, September, 2012. * CanmetMATERIALS ecomaterials projects moved out of MMMII in 2011-12.

2.2 Cost Recovery and Core Projects

Most CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS activities are carried out as either internal (core) projects or revenue generating (cost-recovery) projects. Together, the two labs typically have over a hundred S&T projects at any given time and projects may last for several years.

A minority of projects in both laboratories are totally funded from ongoing internal A-base resources. Core projects are generally performed to enhance the core competencies of the laboratories and to address broader stakeholder needs, with a view to supporting government policies and priorities. These “core” projects address government policy needs, exploratory research, or contribute to new competencies that may enhance the ability of the laboratories to achieve their mandates. These projects seldom involve external industrial partners and may be entirely funded internally. Even some of these “core” projects benefit from external assistance such as task sharing (where two organizations undertake complementary but distinct projects), and in-kind support such as the use of equipment or samples.

Cost recovery projects, on the other hand, are performed for industry and other types of clients, and may be either partial or full cost-recovery. These projects are client-focused and are usually oriented toward short-term problem solving. These may involve one or multiple clients or partners/collaborators. Overall, the majority of the projects undertaken by the two laboratories receive cash contributions from one or several government or industry organizations.

It is important to fully understand that in common MMS parlance, the term “cost recovery” is used to refer to net voted revenue and other non-A-base funding. The term “cost recovery” is also used in the Sector’s Project Management Information System (PMIS) and was used by those who participated in this evaluation to refer to all non A-base funding. However, the term “cost recovery” is imprecise and somewhat misleading. The reality is more complex and there is a wide range of funding/resourcing arrangements for the two laboratories’ S&T projects.

This evaluation did not do a detailed analysis of the financing of the S&T projects undertaken by the CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS laboratories within MMMII. Summary information on core and cost recovery projects is provided in Tables 3 and 4.

The data in Table 3 suggest that there was an increase in the number of CanmetMINING cost recovery, core and total projects within MMMII between 2007-08 and 2010-11, before dropping off in 2011-12. The majority of projects, 93 of 153 (60.7 percent) were cost recovery.

Table 3: Number of CanmetMINING MMMII Projects, 2007-08 to 2011-12
Project Type 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Total
Cost Recovery 9 15 25 30 14 93
Core 4 5 19 15 17 60
Total 13 20 44 45 31 153

Source: MMS, August and September 2012.

The data in Table 4 suggest that the number of CanmentMATERIALS cost recovery, core and total projects within MMMII decreased over the evaluation period. The majority of projects, 71 of 107 (66.3 percent) were cost recovery.

Table 4: Number of CanmetMATERIALS MMMII Projects, 2007-08 to 2011-12
Project Type 2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 Total
Cost Recovery 17 7 6 6 * 36
Core 25 15 13 18 * 71
Total 42 22 19 24 * 107

Source: MMS, August 2012. * CanmetMATERIALS ecomaterials projects moved out of MMMII in 2011-12.

3.0 Evaluation Methodology

3.1 Evaluation Scope and Methods

This evaluation examined the Sub-Activity’s relevance and performance. As detailed in Appendix C, the evaluation included: a document review; key information interviews (n=48); focused telephone surveys of decision-makers and users of the information produced by the Knowledge Branch and Policy Branch (n=57); case studies of CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS projects (n=6); and case studies of the Policy and Knowledge branches projects (n=4). Summary information on case studies can be found in Appendix D.

The focused telephone surveys were designed to supplement the information gathered from the key informant interviews and to reach out to stakeholders considered less likely to agree to take part in a detailed interview. The response rates were 67 percent for the Knowledge Branch, and 78 percent for the Policy Branch (see Annex C for details).

The distribution of internal and external interviews across methods is presented in Table 5 below.

Table 5: Distribution of interviews per method
Method Internal External Total
Stakeholder interviews 23 25 48
Case studies 16 18 34
Focused telephone surveys 3 54 57
Total 42 97 139

3.2 Evaluation Limitations and Mitigation Strategies

Roles and responsibilities: The majority of external interviewees experienced difficulties in distinguishing the roles, activities and products of the Knowledge and Policy branches. In addition, there was external confusion surrounding the work carried out under the MMMII Sub-Activity with other related NRCan work (e.g., the Geological Survey of Canada and the Major Projects Management Office). Clarification was sought during the interviews, where possible, and efforts were also made to include only the applicable external stakeholder input in the analysis and reporting.

Interviews: A particular challenge arose in scheduling interviews with internal and external stakeholders. Many of the potential interviewees declined to participate, had retired from their positions, or could not be reached for other reasons (e.g., changed jobs). In order to mitigate this challenge, back-up contacts were interviewed, wherever available. In addition, information obtained from different interviewee sub-groups (e.g., NRCan staff and external stakeholders) within a line of evidence were treated as one group for analysis and reporting, in some instances, to allow for generalization of findings and the drawing of high-level findings. Finally, this limitation was further mitigated by synthesizing and validating the views of interviewees from multiple lines of evidence (i.e., stakeholder interviews, S&T and dialogue case studies, and focused telephone surveys).

Financial Information: The evaluation encountered great difficulty in obtaining detailed financial and project data for the Sub-Activity. Available evidence, from interviews and internal documentation, noted declining funding and resulting resource challenges over time. However, this trend is not reflected in the financial data as funding has remained relatively stable during the evaluation period.

Performance Information: The documents available for review were limited in number and scope and did not provide a comprehensive overview of the projects and activities of the branches, divisions and laboratories. In order to address this limitation, efforts were made to identify additional pertinent documents online (e.g., from NRCan and OGDs’ web sites) and utilize them in validating/complementing the interview findings. Every effort was made to search out additional information and cross-check the available evidence with additional evidence, whenever possible.

4.0 Evaluation Findings

4.1 Relevance

4.1.1 Continued Need for Program

Evaluation question Methodologies Assessment
1. Is there an ongoing need for the MMMII Sub-Activity?
  • Document Review
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Focused telephone surveys
There is an ongoing need for the MMMII Sub-Activity and its components.

Summary: The MMMII Sub-Activity addresses the needs and priorities of stakeholders, partners and clients in the minerals and metals sector through the provision of enabling and unique services.

Is there a continued need for the MMMII Sub-Activity (as a whole and for each of its components)? To what extent were the MMMII Sub-Activity objectives, approach, programs and activities tailored to address and satisfy the needs of the main stakeholders?

The operations and activities of the Canadian mining industry generate considerable economic activities. However, the industry operates in a complex environment involving a diverse group of stakeholders and multiple jurisdictions both within and outside Canada. The MMMII Sub-Activity is designed and delivered to support the strategically important mining industry in a coordinated and complementary manner, as described below.

The Knowledge Branch primarily provides data and analyses to facilitate informed decision-making among mining industry stakeholders, both within and outside NRCan. Knowledge Branch data and analyses are often not readily available from other sources, perceived by users of the data (primarily government and industry stakeholders) as equally authoritative and objective as that of NRCan. In addition, the users of Knowledge Branch data and analyses indicated that it would require considerable efforts and resources to produce such data and analyses through alternative means on their own.

The Policy Branch primarily provides policy advice and support while facilitating collaborations, both nationally and internationally. NRCan staff and external stakeholders indicated that the Policy Branch’s enabling and coordinated activities are necessary since:

  • Multiple jurisdictions oversee mining operations in Canada – Under the Canadian Constitution, the regulation of mining activities on publicly-owned mineral leases (covering more than 90 percent of Canada's land) falls under provincial/territorial government jurisdiction. There is separate mining rights legislation for each of the thirteen Canadian jurisdictions except for the Northwest Territories (NWT) and Nunavut. The mining and exploration activities in the NWT and Nunavut are regulated by the Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) office based in the NWT. However, in a land claims settlement, the mineral rights for about ten percent of Nunavut have been turned over to the Inuit communities. The Inuit communities set the rules and regulations in the land blocks that are not under federal jurisdiction.Footnote 16 In addition, provincial governments are responsible for mining – the exploration for, and the development and extraction of mineral resources, and the construction, management, reclamation, and close-out of mine sites – within their jurisdiction.Footnote 17 The Government of Yukon manages mineral policy, land tenure, royalties, mining land use legislation and regulations within its jurisdiction.Footnote 18
  • The mining industry is large and fragmented, involving thousands of companies/operations and multiple segments. An overview of the Canadian mining industry is provided in the figure below.

    Figure 2: Size and Composition of the Canadian Mining Industry (2008)

    Size and Composition of the Canadian Mining Industry (2008)

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    Source: Industry data compiled by NRCan

    text version - figure 2

    Figure 2

    Figure 2 shows the size and composition of the Canadian Mining Industry in 2008. It presents an overview of the mining industry process along with overall facts and figures.

    The first level of activity is Exploration Activities, undertaken by Juniour and Senior Companies and Prospectors. This leads into Metal mines/concentrators, which in turn leads into Smelters, and then Refineries. The figure notes that Recyclables move between Smelters and Refineries. Under Refineries there are Semi-fabrication Plants, which in turn lead to Fabrication plants.

    Figure 2 notes that there are over 1,400 exploration and mining companies; this is extensive science and technology networks; there are over 3,500 mineral and metal recycling operations; sophisticated financial and legal institutions; and over 3,140 suppliers of equipment, technology and knowledge-based services. It also provides the following figures: Mineral Exploration - $1.7 billion; Production - $32 billion; GDP - $32 billion; Employment – 307,000; Capital Investment - $10 billion; and Exports - $66 billion.

  • Canadian mining companies have extensive international presence with combined assets outside Canada totalling $109 billion in 2009. An overview of the international presence and assets of Canadian mining companies is provided in Table 6 and Figure 3 on the following page.
Table 6: Geographic Reach of Companies Listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange (August 2011)
Location of Mineral Projects Number Percent
Canada 5,161 51
United States 1,279 13
South America 1,062 11
Africa 702 7
Mexico 618 6
Asia 383 4
Australia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea 373 4
UK/Europe 316 3
Central America and Caribbean 137 1
Russia/ Commonwealth of Independent States 79 ~1
Total 10,110 100

Source: The Mining Association of Canada.

Figure 3 Mining Assets of Canadian Mining Companies outside Canada (2009)

Mining Assets of Canadian Mining Companies outside Canada (2009)

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text version - figure 3

Figure 3

Figure 3 shows the mining assets of Canadian mining companies outside of Canada in 2009. Canada’s Global Mining Presence in 2009 was $109 billion. In the United States; $15 billion. In Latin America and the Caribbean; $56 billion; In Europe; $7 billion. In Africa; $20 billion. In Asia; $6 billion. And in Australia; $5 billion.

Source: Industry data compiled by NRCan.

Federal government-conducted research contributes to more competitive and sustainable industry operations. Industry partners, stakeholders and clients noted that CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS: have unique facilities and equipment for S&T work and testing; support small- and medium-sized companies that cannot conduct S&T on their own; and bring together jurisdictions, industries, sectors and academia that would otherwise conduct S&T in a disjointed manner due to competitive pressure and a lack of coordination.

The 2009 evaluation of CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS S&T activities found that since CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS are neither commercially driven nor operating as an industry regulator, these are viewed by partners, stakeholders and clients as impartial, independent sources of scientific knowledge and these often facilitate dialogue between regulators and industry.Footnote 19

Together, the MMMII Sub-Activity components support the strategically important mining industry. As noted before, the Canadian mining industry employs more than 320,000 Canadians and generated $35.1 billion in GDP in 2010. Canada is one of the largest mining nations in the world, operating in 100 countries in the world with a stock of $62 billion in direct investments abroad. There are more than 200 active mines in Canada, producing more than 60 minerals and metals.

The total value of Canadian mineral exports was $84.5 billion in 2010, accounting for 21 percent of Canada’s total exports. The mining and mineral processing industries made significant contributions to the Canadian economy that same year, including more than $12 billion in capital investment and $18 billion in trade surplus.Footnote 20 In addition, the mining industry pays several billion dollars annually to Canadian governments in the form of income taxes and royalties.Footnote 21

Canada is also one of the leading countries in the world in terms of global share of investments in mining, both inward and outward. In 2010, almost 60 percent of the world’s equity financing for mineral exploration and mining was raised by companies listed on Canadian stock exchanges, and Canadian-headquartered mining companies accounted for more than 40 percent of budgeted worldwide exploration expenditures.Footnote 22 In 2008, over 75 percent of the world’s exploration and mining companies were headquartered in Canada.Footnote 23 Since 2005, the value of direct foreign investment in Canada’s minerals industry has increased by over 200 percent.

Globally, Canada continues to be a top destination for mining exploration investments. In 2008, 21 percent of the mineral exploration programs (for precious metals, base metals, diamonds, and uranium) planned by the world’s large and small companies were expected to be conducted in Canada. In a study that assessed how mineral endowments and public policy factors – such as taxation and regulation – affect mining exploration investment in 93 jurisdictions around the world, five Canadian provinces/territories ranked among the top ten most attractive jurisdictions to explore for minerals and build mines in 2012.Footnote 25

4.1.2 Alignment with Government Priorities and NRCan’s Strategic Objectives

Evaluation question Methodologies Assessment
2. Is the MMMII Sub-Activity consistent with government priorities and NRCan’s strategic objectives?
  • Document Review
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
The MMMII Sub-Activity is consistent with government priorities and NRCan’s strategic objectives.

Summary: The MMMII Sub-Activity adequately reflects federal government priorities as well as the NRCan mandate.

Were the MMMII Sub-Activity objectives consistent with government priorities and NRCan’s strategic objectives?

Through a collaborative and consultative approach, the MMMII Sub-Activity aims to contribute to enhancing industry competitiveness, supporting economic growth and developing natural resources, and promoting sustainable development by addressing environmental issues, both nationally and internationally. These objectives are:

  • Consistent with government prioritiesFootnote 26 as well as theMinerals and Metals Policy of the Government of Canada,Footnote 27 and focused on:
    • promoting economic growth and job creation;
    • furthering an efficient and effective federation; and
    • meeting the challenge of sustainable development.
  • In line with NRCan’s strategic outcomes outlined in the Program Activity Architecture,Footnote 28 which include:
    • economic competitiveness;
    • environmental responsibility; and
    • safety, security and stewardship.
  • Aligned with the responsibilities mandated under the Department of Natural Resources Act (1994),Footnote 29 which include:
    • seeking to enhance the responsible development and use of Canada’s natural resources and the competitiveness of Canada’s natural resources products;
    • participating in the enhancement and promotion of market access for Canada’s natural resources products and technical surveys industries, both domestically and internationally;
    • promoting cooperation with the governments of the provinces and with non-governmental organizations in Canada, and participating in the promotion of cooperation with the governments of other countries and with international organizations; and
    • gathering, compiling, analysing, coordinating, and disseminating information regarding scientific, technological, economic, industrial, managerial, marketing and related activities and developments affecting Canada’s natural resources.

In addition to document review findings, NRCan staff and external stakeholders also noted that there is a strong alignment between the activities carried out by the Policy and Knowledge branches, CanmetMINING, CanmetMATERIALS (under the MMMII Sub-Activity) and the overall NRCan mandate, NRCan’s strategic objectives and the Government of Canada priorities. This is because the MMMII activities are focussed on increasing the competitiveness and productivity of the Canadian mining industry, while promoting sustainable development through mining.

4.1.3 Legitimate, Appropriate and Necessary Federal Role

Evaluation question Methodologies Assessment
3. Is there a legitimate, appropriate and necessary role for the federal government in the MMMII Sub-Activity?
  • Document Review
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
The federal government role in the MMMII Sub-Activity is legitimate, appropriate and necessary.

Summary: The involvement of the federal government in the MMMII Sub-Activity is required to meet legislative and regulatory requirements; national coordination and international representation; and to complement roles and responsibilities in other government and industry stakeholders in the minerals and metals sector.

Is there a legitimate and necessary role for the federal government in the MMMII Sub-Activity?

NRCan staff, external stakeholders and document review noted that through the MMMII Sub-Activity, the federal government fulfills a number of important roles and responsibilities as described below.

  • National coordination: Examples of national activities coordinated by NRCan include the Mining Sector Performance Report, tax modelling, provision of harmonized and comparable mineral data and statistics across Canada, the Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC), promotion of S&T and innovation, etc.
  • International representation: The federal government advances Canadian mineral and metal interests internationally by representing Canada on international forums and international initiatives (e.g., the Intergovernmental Forum on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development; the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD); and the Government of Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector.
  • Legislative/regulatory and legal responsibility/authority: In some instances, the federal government role related to minerals and metals is a legislative and regulatory requirement. Examples of legislated responsibilities include issuing mineral resource certifications in compliance with the responsibilities mandated in the Income Tax Act (1985), conducting technical surveys and providing data/statistics relating to minerals and mining under the Resources and Technical Surveys Act (1985), and implementing the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme under the Export and Import of Rough Diamonds Act (2002). With respect to legal obligations, over the past ten years, the Supreme Court of Canada had issued several rulings that clarified government obligations to consult with, and accommodate Aboriginal peoples whose rights and title might be affected by mining operations or other resource development activities.Footnote 30

The roles and responsibilities of NRCan, other federal government departments, provincial/territorial governments, and other stakeholders (such as industry associations) in relation to minerals and metals are complementary and generally well-understood.

  • The Minerals and Metals Policy of the Government of CanadaFootnote 31 clearly specifies the scope of federal government involvement in the regulation of mining operations. Core federal responsibilities relevant to the mining industry include:
    • international affairs, trade and investment;
    • fiscal and monetary policy;
    • science and technology;
    • Aboriginal affairs;
    • Crown corporations and federal lands;
    • environmental protection and conservation (a shared responsibility with the provinces);
    • integrated management of ocean-related activities;
    • fisheries and fish habitat management;
    • navigable waters management;
    • health (a shared responsibility with the provinces);
    • national coordination of joint federal-provincial responses to policy issues;
    • international developmental assistance;
    • regulation of all activities related to mineral development in the territories (except Yukon);
    • national information and statistics on minerals and metals; and
    • nuclear energy, including uranium mining.
  • NRCan expertise in mining policy and programming complements the economic development expertise of Canadian International Development Agency and AANDC in order to maximize the contributions of mining to communities, country and sustainable development.
  • The Government of Canada’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector also acknowledges and promotes industry CSR standards so that Canadian companies with international activities can have greater choices when it comes to adopting CSR standards that best meet their operations.

NRCan staff and external stakeholders noted that the roles and responsibilities with regard to the individual components of the MMMII Sub-Activity are not always clearly defined and understood.

Following the Sector’s reorganization in 2008, two distinct branches have been established to separate knowledge and policy functions under the MMMII Sub-Activity. Many NRCan staff reported confusion and a lack of clarity over the separation of the functions and some indicated that the separation was counterproductive. Some external stakeholders also reported confusion over the roles of the two branches. In 2009, an internal review of the MMMKB highlighted that the reorganization had not fully transitioned into the new intended structure.Footnote 32

In addition, CanmetMINING activities focused on enhancing the health and safety of mining workers are not considered as a priority under the MMMII Sub-Activity by all NRCan staff, even though these complement CanmetMINING activities geared towards innovation and contribute to industry competitiveness by reducing the costs associated with temporary mine closures and liabilities following an accident.

It is important to note that NRCan staff and external stakeholders are generally not exposed to the MMMII Sub-Activity in its entirety. Their involvement is typically limited to selected components depending on their respective roles and responsibilities concerning the MMMII Sub-Activity. Hence, it is somewhat understandable that there is a lack of awareness and understanding of the linkages and inter-relationships among the suite of activities carried out under the MMMII Sub-Activity, which could be addressed through improved communication, both internally and externally.

4.2 Performance

4.2.1 Achievement of Expected Outcomes (Effectiveness)

Evaluation question Methodologies Assessment
4. To what extent have intended outcomes been achieved as a result of the MMMII Sub-Activity?
  • Document Review
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Focused telephone surveys
Overall, the MMMII Sub-Activity has made considerable progress towards achievement of the intended outcomes. However, opportunities exist to enhance the effectiveness of the MMMII Sub-Activity.

Summary: The activities carried out under the MMMII Sub-Activity have generated and made considerable progress towards the intended outcomes by:

  • producing and disseminating a wide variety of minerals and metals sector information, data and analyses to key decision-makers – independently as well as in collaboration – that otherwise would not be available easily and centrally;
  • establishing and supporting various national and international collaborative initiatives that are strategically important and have been instrumental in helping to advance the Canadian minerals and metals sector in a globally competitive economy; and
  • identifying S&T gaps and setting priorities, as well as conducting and coordinating S&T innovation work with minerals and metals sector partners and stakeholders to address those gaps and priorities.

There is an opportunity to increase awareness of the data and analyses produced and facilitated by the MMMII Sub-Activity for greater reach and usage.

Has the MMMII Sub-Activity increased awareness of, and access to data/evidence for decision-making?

A diverse group of internal and external stakeholders use the various data and related analyses generated by the MMMII Sub-Activity (primarily by the Knowledge Branch and the Policy Branch) to inform decision-making on a wide range of issues pertaining to the minerals and metals sector, as described below. The data and analyses produced by the MMMII Sub-Activity are generally reported by users (NRCan staff and external stakeholders) to be relevant, adequate, useful and timely. Examples of the uses of such data and analyses (particularly those produced by the Knowledge Branch and the Policy Branch) cited by NRCan staff and external stakeholders are summarized below.

  • Among OGDs, the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) uses NRCan data on Canadian mining assets abroad to help determine the type and extent of DFAIT services made available to Canadian mining companies. Environment Canada consults NRCan in relation to the environmental impacts of mining activities. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) consults NRCan on mining tax policies and administration. Transport Canada consults NRCan on the development of transportation infrastructure to facilitate mining/exploration activities. AANDC uses NRCan publications in relation to its efforts to enhance the benefits on mining activities for Aboriginal communities. The Canada Border Services Agency uses NRCan data in relation to the implementation of the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.
  • Provincial and territorial governments collaborate with NRCan and some of them have Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) with the Department to facilitate information, data and statistics collection and exchange pertaining to provincial/territorial mineral/metal resources. The governments subsequently use the information to position their jurisdiction in the Canadian and global mining sector, as well as to conduct their own analyses, release additional reports and inform their decision-making.
  • The final output of the work of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Committee on Mineral Statistics (FPTCMS)Footnote 33 is the provision of detailed and reliable statistics on mineral exploration activities across Canada, which is used by a diverse array of organizations both within and outside Canada. Federal, provincial and territorial governments utilize the data to draft briefing materials and information publications, inform policy development, compare mining developments across jurisdictions, and develop tax incentives and programs. Mining companies and suppliers to the sector use the data for internal planning and estimating the size and potential of the market. Staff members at Canadian embassies and high commissions make use of data in their efforts to attract mining investments to Canada. Non-governmental organizations, academic organizations and Aboriginal groups use the data in relation to research and advocacy work.
  • Mineral production data from the Annual Census of Mines conducted by NRCan in collaboration with several provinces and territories also address similar information needs.
  • The Mining Sector Performance ReportFootnote 34 was prepared by the Federal, Provincial and Territorial Social Licence Task Group and vetted at the 2010 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference. Through the MMMII Sub-Activity, NRCan coordinated the efforts to develop the report in collaboration with stakeholders. The report captured historical data over ten years (1998-2008) on mining performance in Canada across 21 economic, social and environmental indicators; it was developed in consultation with an external advisory committee comprised of representatives from industry, academia, provincial/territorial governments, and Aboriginal and non-governmental organizations. The report provides baseline data to track and measure mining performance and is scheduled to be updated every three years. The report is intended to inform and facilitate decision-making among government, industry and other relevant stakeholders.

External stakeholders tend to become involved with the MMMII Sub-Activity when an opportunity emerges in the course of their work (e.g., through participation in a committee or working group where NRCan is also represented; by attending a conference hosted by NRCan; through a predecessor with corporate knowledge; or via collaborative work with NRCan). Many external stakeholders indicated interactions with NRCan in multiple areas (e.g., collaborating on an S&T project while participating in a committee or working group). However, there are no proactive and concerted outreach efforts on the part of NRCan to make potential users aware of all the products and services under the MMMII Sub-Activity.

Many external stakeholders, including those already familiar with some aspects of the MMMII Sub-Activity, advocated improved communication to better inform them about the entire range of MMMII Sub-Activity products (e.g., the data and analyses produced by the Knowledge Branch and the Policy Branch) and services as well as the components, branches, divisions and staff responsible for each product/service to facilitate their engagement. In addition, some external stakeholders and NRCan staff noted that the NRCan web site is not user-friendly for accessing data and information.

The lack of awareness from external stakeholders extends to CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS activities as well, albeit to a lesser extent. Some external stakeholders indicated that they discovered the S&T capabilities of CanmetMINING or CanmetMATERIALS via referrals from another research organization (e.g., an academic research institute). While this observation could indicate that CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS have been effective in establishing relationships with key stakeholders and partners so that they could source new clients through partner and stakeholder referrals, external stakeholders nonetheless advocated more direct and ongoing communication and interaction.

Has the MMMII Sub-Activity contributed to strategic partnerships and stronger linkages across different fora (national and international)?

The MMMII Sub-Activity has contributed to strategic partnerships and stronger linkages, both within and outside Canada, by leading and participating in a number of multilateral, bilateral and multi-stakeholder initiatives. A wide range of mining industry stakeholders benefited from the outputs and outcomes of these initiatives, as the initiatives informed and feed into policy, strategic and tactical decision-making. NRCan played an important role in these initiatives as the department possesses unique technical expertise pertaining to the mining sector, can adopt a flexible approach to programming, and/or is in a position to facilitate large-scale and complex coordination involving multiple stakeholders. NRCan staff and external stakeholders generally considered NRCan’s contributions as significant, noting that without the MMMII Sub-Activity, such multilateral, bilateral and multi-stakeholder initiatives might not have benefitted Canada’s mining industry to the same extent.

The major international strategic partnerships and linkages under the MMMII Sub-Activity as well as NRCan’s contributions to them (particularly through the Knowledge Branch and the Policy Branch) are described below. Appendix D provides a summary of the outcomes and benefits for each of the international strategic partnerships and linkages that were selected for case studies.

  • NRCan (principally through the Policy Branch) has been active in the IGF on Mining, Minerals, Metals and Sustainable Development that evolved from the Global Dialogue Forum co-sponsored by NRCan and South Africa in 2002. Canada (represented by the Policy Branch) hosted the Forum Secretariat for five years since its inception in 2005, participated in organizing annual meetings, and played a key role within the Forum, for example, in facilitating Forum dialogues on policy and regulation frameworks. Policy Branch staff have made presentations on mining and sustainable development at key national and international events (e.g., an expert meeting of the UN Commission for Trade and Development [UNCTAD] in Geneva). Footnote 35 The Forum has developed a comprehensive mining policy framework,Footnote 36 which is recognized as a global reference for mining related good governance. The support provided by NRCan (Government of Canada) to the Forum was recognized in a summary report of the World Bank Extractive Industries Advisory Group meeting in September 2007.Footnote 37 The Forum serves as a networking and collaborative platform; it currently has 43 member countries of whom all but two are developing and emerging countries.

    Canada is represented by NRCan on two task forces established following the Forum’s annual session in 2011. Footnote 38 The mandate of the task forces includes implementation of the Mining Policy Framework and securing future funding for the Forum. The Forum works with other intergovernmental organizations (e.g., the African Mining Partnership), non-member governments, and multilateral organizations (e.g., the World Bank) towards the implementation of the Mining Policy Framework.Footnote 39
  • The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD) is a forum for sustainable development policy. Mining was a main review theme of the 18th and 19th UNCSD sessions taking place in 2010 and 2011, respectively. In preparation for the 18th UNCSD session, the IGF conducted a survey of its membership in order to gauge the adoption of best practice in mining and identify gaps.Footnote 40 This survey represents the most extensive survey of mining in developing countries covering aspects of financial, environmental and social issues related to mining. The IGF Mining Policy Framework was presented at the 19th UNCSD session. The Framework provides a roadmap for the future that enables developing countries to implement best practices and enhance the contribution of the mining sector in their country to sustainable development.

    In collaboration with DFAIT, NRCan (largely through the Policy Branch) also provided input on the UNCSD sessions on mining by submitting a document summarizing best mining practices from Canada. A report on the Canadian mining sector, developed with NRCan support, was submitted to the UNCSD and published on the web site of the UN Division for Sustainable Development in May 2010.Footnote 41 The report summarizes the legislation that regulates mining in Canada, the integration of sustainable development into federal legislation, policies and programs (e.g., Canadian Environmental Assessment Act), the role that mining plays in the Canadian economy and factors that contributed to the Canadian mining socio-economic success.
  • In support of the development of the Government of Canada’s horizontal Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector, NRCan (mostly through the Policy Branch) and OGDs – such as DFAIT, Industry Canada, Environment Canada and CIDA – organized four national roundtables in 2006. The roundtables heard presentations and received written submissions from the civil society, industry, labour organizations, academics and research institutes; other members of the public were heard and they also featured the participation of prominent Canadian and international experts.Footnote 42

    The CSR Strategy has four main pillars: supporting host country resource governance capacity-building initiatives; endorsing and promoting widely-recognized international CSR performance guidelines; supporting the development and maintenance of a CSR Centre of Excellence; and creating and maintaining the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor.Footnote 43 MMMII’s involvement in the implementation of the CSR Strategy was mostly in terms of sharing technical expertise and knowledge related to mining with developing countries (e.g., NRCan providing expertise and knowledge related to mining to CIDA prior to CIDA’s visit to a country for capacity-building projects, or NRCan contributing to the development of various regulatory and technical frameworks in developing countries); providing input through committees such as the Advisory Board of the CSR Centre of Excellence and the interdepartmental working group on promoting the international CSR performance guidelines; and developing and providing toolkits, presentations and other information materials.

    With respect to the provision of information materials, data and statistics on Canadian mining assets abroad produced by NRCan were used by the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor in preparation for formal meetings with stakeholder groups (industry, civil society, host country governments and Canadian government officials) in MaliFootnote 44 and Senegal.Footnote 45 Reliance of the Counsellor on statistics from NRCan was also noted in the Embassy magazine,Footnote 46 in January 2012, in which the Counsellor reported on the Office’s activities regarding the implementation of a dialogue-based approach to communities affected by Canadian mining operations in developing countries.The three federal government organizations – CIDA, DFAIT and NRCan – involved in the CSR Strategy have been working collaboratively to further improve working relationships. A report on a workshop on building CSR partnerships held in Ottawa in 2010 noted:
    • Each of the presenters – CIDA, DFAIT and NRCan – h highlighted how as bodies within the Government of Canada, they work together to support an overall CSR strategy, learning and borrowing advice and expertise from each other, and noting that the division of labour under this strategy is nascent and growing. Where NRCan provides technical advice and leadership, DFAIT helps to build and facilitate relationships for industry from a political and trade paradigm, while CIDA seeks to provide the community development and civil society linkages.Footnote 47
    The Government of Canada’s horizontal CSR Strategy had been highlighted in the United Nations Economic and Social Council Secretary-General’s report on policy options and actions for expediting progress in implementation in mining. According to the report, governments have a variety of options at their disposal to ensure that companies comply with and reinforce CSR. The options include, among others, “…promoting the adoption of corporate codes of conducts, such as the OECD guidelines or the corporate social responsibility strategy for the Canadian mining sector operating abroad.” Footnote 48NRCan’s (GoC) contribution and support to the industry to carry out socially responsible and environmentally sustainable mining operations was also recognized in some scholarly literature on the CSR practices of Canadian mining companies.Footnote 49
  • NRCan (essentially through the Knowledge Branch) has launched the Rare Earth Elements (REE) Project to join an inter-governmental consortium that is tasked with developing R&D priorities related to rare earth elements.Footnote 50 The inter-governmental consortium has been established to develop R&D priorities that would address issues related to the global supply of rare earth elements. The main users of REE, the United States, the European Union and Japan, belong to the consortium of which Australia – a strong player in the global metals and minerals sector – is also a member. Given that Canada has a geological endowment of heavy rare earth metalsFootnote 51 that are or will be in relatively short global supply, it is important that Canada participate in the consortium.
  • CanmetMATERIALS co-chairs the Canada-Japan Workshop on Composite Materials, which works to identify new technologies and develop partnerships between Canadian and Japanese researchers in industry and academia to foster product development in both countries, and works with Japanese counterparts to identify areas of industrial collaboration in nanotechnology.
  • The Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) with countries that are strategically important for the Canadian mining sector – e.g., MOU between NRCan and the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China on Building the Dialogue Mechanism for Cooperation on Mineral Resources was signed in December 2009 in BeijingFootnote 52 – to facilitate exchange of information and collaborations as well as provision of NRCan expertise (e.g., assistance in developing the tax regime for the mining sector in Bolivia and Mongolia) augment bilateral relationships and contribute to the achievement of the expected outcomes under the development of strategic partnerships and linkages.

The major national strategic partnerships and linkages under the MMMII Sub-Activity are described below.

  • With representation from the federal government as well as each provincial and territorial government, the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) on the Mineral Industry provides an opportunity for the federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) mines ministers and mining stakeholders to discuss and plan for the future of mining in Canada. The Committee serves as a platform where numerous sub-groups under the IGWG address various issues pertinent to mining (e.g., improving regulatory efficiency, increasing Aboriginal participation in the Canadian minerals industry for the benefit of Aboriginal peoples and communities, facilitating tax reforms to enhance competitiveness etc.).
  • The IGWG also organizes the Annual Mines Ministers' Conference with a view to ensuring that the benefits of mining are realized in every province and territory, and that opportunities for Canadians in mining continue to grow.Footnote 53 NRCan coordinates the activities of the IGWG. At the 2009 annual meeting, FPT mines ministers tasked NRCan, along with provincial partners from Newfoundland and Labrador, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, and Quebec, to lead a collaborative, multi-stakeholder research project to examine the economic, social and environmental performance of the mining sector in Canada and determine whether improvements had been made over the last ten years.
  • Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) is a network of industry, academic and government leaders whose purpose is to improve the competitiveness of a responsible Canadian mining industry by strengthening mining research excellence across Canada. To achieve mining research excellence, CMIC sought the input of more than 150 leaders from industry, government, associations, research centres, and academia through a series of regional workshops held in Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Toronto, Val-d'Or, Montreal and Halifax, in 2008. Four working groups have been established subsequently to address the priority areas of: environment (energy, water, tailings and effluent management), exploration, deep mining and process efficiency.

    NRCan, through the Policy Branch and CanmetMINING, provided funding to support CMIC in its start-up phase along with in-kind support.

    In addition to NRCan, the current CMIC membership includes 10 universities, seven research centres, four provincial governments, 20 mining industry companies, four mining industry associations, and nine mining consultants and service providers. Footnote 54

    Some of the activities of CMIC to date include:Footnote 55
    • Exploration Technology Initiative: a partnership among 13 junior and major mining companies, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), and MMMII to develop the tools needed to discover remote, undercover and deep mineral deposits.
    • Tailings Management Initiative: this initiative addresses environmental and land management concerns through concerted efforts of CMIC members and oil sands companies.
    • Energy Efficiency Initiative: three technical reports have been commissioned to determine the current status of energy efficiency, alternative fuels and technologies and demand management. Talks are underway between CMIC members and mining companies to develop a research plan that would accommodate future industry needs.
    • Cyanide Code Workshop: along with the International Cyanide Management Institute, CMIC co-sponsored two Canadian workshops on the International Cyanide Management Code for the manufacture, transport and use of cyanide in the production of gold in 2010.
  • The PDAC annual convention is the mineral industry’s largest annual convention. The 2011 PDAC convention in Toronto attracted nearly 28,000 attendees, including 7,000 international delegates from 120 countries.Footnote 56 As part of NRCan’s contributions to the annual PDAC conventions, the Policy Branch – in collaboration with the Knowledge Branch – helps develop content for the event and provides briefing materials for senior NRCan staff attending the event. The event also provides an important opportunity for NRCan staff to meet and engage with international stakeholders.

With respect to the attendance at mining events, MMMII staff highlighted the current travel policy limiting participation in these conferences as a constraint. The NRCan travel policy governs how many staff can attend a particular mining event, as well as how many events can be attended by a staff member over a period of time. Interviewees were unclear whether the constraints in travel were a result of the NRCan departmental travel policy, MMS or the branches and labs. The departmental travel policy was implemented in response to resource challenges, as well as to address concerns that extensive NRCan staff presence at industry-sponsored events might be perceived as industry having disproportionate amount of influence on NRCan’s programming. This travel policy also affects CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS staff who reported not being able to attend conferences to present scientific papers, for example. Some NRCan staff indicated that the inherent nature of their job – which requires a sound understanding of the complex mining environment and good rapport with strategic contacts, both within and outside Canada—makes networking at mining events vital for ensuring success in their efforts, as well as for providing new staff with adequate and appropriate orientation and developmental opportunities.

How has the MMMII Sub-Activity contributed to maintaining and/or increasing access to global minerals and metals markets?

The MMMII Sub-Activity indirectly contributes to efforts facilitating international market access for Canadian mining companies. International markets and regulations concerning minerals and metals are influenced by numerous factors external to NRCan/Canada. Therefore, the impacts in this area cannot be attributed directly to the MMMII Sub-Activity. However, both the Policy and Knowledge branches of the MMMII Sub-Activity support maintaining and increasing Canada’s access to global minerals and metals markets. More specifically:

  • NRCan participation in international negotiations and development of global policies concerning minerals and metals (e.g., the Kimberley Process, metals-related policy developments in the European Union, etc.) ensures that Canadian interests are being represented adequately.
  • Reports and other materials aimed at understanding foreign markets and the barriers and challenges to market access help NRCan and its partners (e.g., DFAIT) determine the appropriate strategy in foreign countries to assist Canadian mining companies.
  • Multilateral (e.g., the IGF and the CSR Strategy) and bilateral (e.g., MOUs) efforts raise the profile of Canada’s mining expertise, capabilities and performance which, in turn, supports Canadian mining companies internationally. Such efforts also contribute to more transparent, stable and consistent mining governance and regulatory frameworks across the world, facilitating and safeguarding the investments of Canadian companies in foreign mining operations.

The available data on Canada’s ranking on the Trade Performance Index reported by the International Trade Centre of United Nations Commission on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)/World Trade Organization (WTO), between 2005 and 2009, indicated a relatively stable trend. Canada’s ranking moved back and forth between fourth and sixth over the five years, securing the fifth position in 2009 in terms of exports of minerals (including energy and power). However, it is important to note that multiple factors influence Canada’s access to global minerals and metals markets (e.g., geopolitical issues, concomitant mining initiatives launched by other countries, etc.) and caution is warranted in linking the outcomes in this area directly to the activities conducted under the MMMII Sub-Activity.

Has the MMMII Sub-Activity contributed to greater intersectoral alignment and coordination of Canadian minerals and metals S&T and innovation?

The MMMII Sub-Activity (mainly through CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS) has contributed to a number of collaborative initiatives and mechanisms that facilitate greater intersectoral alignment and coordination of Canadian minerals and metals S&T and innovation activities. The Canada Mining Innovation Council (CMIC) was frequently mentioned by both NRCan staff and external stakeholders as contributing to a strong and coordinated minerals and metals S&T and innovation system that addresses the industry’s research needs, improves productivity of mining operations, lessens the environmental impacts of mining activities, and enhances safety in mining operations. Together, they promote excellence in mining research, innovation and commercialization in Canada through a coordinated approach and enable research institutions to seek industry input in order to ensure research alignment with industry needs and expectations. They also help avoid duplication in research work by providing a forum for industry, academia and government to discuss ongoing and planned research projects, interests and priorities.

NRCan (via CanmetMINING) provided early stage support to the CMIC and continues to be involved in CMIC activities. The activities of CMIC are directed towards implementing the Pan-Canadian Mining Research and Innovation Strategy, which was presented and endorsed at the 2008 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference. Stakeholders recognized that the mining industry did not fully benefit from the various S&T activities across Canada and, as a result, the Pan-Canadian Mining Research and Innovation Strategy was developed following broad consultations with the mining community. NRCan (through CanmetMINING) was represented on the CMIC Transition Board that was tasked with developing the Strategy and preparing it for implementation in early 2009.

In addition to the aforementioned initiatives, industry regularly approaches CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS directly, or via referrals, with respect to research needs regarding technical issues and specific aspects of business operations, and collaborates with CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS on a cost recovery basis.

Industry and academic representation on various CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS committees also ensures that the S&T element of the MMMII Sub-Activity reflects industry needs and priorities. CanmetMATERIALS, for example, has a Materials Advisory Committee with representation from industry, academia and OGDs that meets once a year to discuss research plans and priorities.

The Materials Technology Laboratory has S&T agreements with strategic partners (e.g., the University of Alberta) that ensure that its S&T and innovation activities are carried out in a coordinated manner. Both NRCan staff and external stakeholders indicated that the relocation of CanmetMATERIALS to Hamilton would likely result in more closely-aligned S&T work with key industrial and academic partners in the region due to closer proximity. Physical presence at the McMaster Innovation Park is also seen as augmenting the working relationship between CanmetMATERIALS, the steel industry, McMaster and other universities in the region.

Has the MMMII Sub-Activity produced scientific and technical knowledge that has been effectively transferred to stakeholders?

CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS initiatives and activities have effectively generated and transferred S&T knowledge to external partners and stakeholders, which resulted in a variety of benefits such as improved productivity, increased revenues, new and enhanced technologies, spin-off research projects, etc. The major CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS initiatives and mechanisms that facilitate the production and dissemination of S&T knowledge are described below.

CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS cost recovery projects with external partners and stakeholders result in S&T knowledge dissemination/technology transfer. The evaluation reviewed data from 260 CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS projects that indicated that the transfer of research knowledge to industry had resulted in technological breakthroughs and significant cost savings in some instances. For example, research projects on gold leaching for two different companies resulted in increased annual revenues of $9 million and $500,000 respectively because of increased gold extraction.

Each of the three CanmetMINING and three CanmetMATERIALS case study projects included in this evaluation demonstrated that S&T knowledge had been generated and effectively transferred to external partners and stakeholders to build on the project outcomes. For example, two CanmetMINING projects (Fuel Cell Integration in a Lunar Rover Prototype and Fiber-Reinforced Concrete/Shotcrete Flexural Testing and Analysis) fully achieved their targeted S&T objectives to test and demonstrate the capability of a new aerospace device, and to analyze samples in order to provide specialized data to the client. The third CanmetMINING project has resulted in specialized data for exclusive use by the client as well as a series of improvements to laboratory equipment. A patent is currently being explored for the modified equipment (i.e., a new hydraulic pressure control system). All of these outcomes had been transferred from CanmetMINING to the partners and clients through regular correspondence, technical notes, progress reports, reports on sample characteristics and, in one instance, the provision of a hydrogen fuel cell on a five-year loan to one of the partner organizations for further research.

Likewise, each of the three CanmetMATERIALS case studies demonstrated that scientific and technical knowledge had been produced and adequately transferred to the relevant partners and stakeholders. More specifically, in partnership with universities and other government departments, the projects had contributed to the development of new and improved materials, manufacturing processes and monitoring techniques for applications in the automobile and defence sectors.

CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS disseminate S&T knowledge by publishing research findings in scientific journals and presenting research papers at conferences, via participation in collaborative efforts like the Global Mining Initiative and the Mine Environment Neutral Drainage (MEND) Program, and through numerous knowledge sharing/S&T agreements with external partners and stakeholders.

The review of documents accessed online, as well as those provided by NRCan staff, confirmed some reporting of CanmetMINING research results in scientific journals. Articles provided information on the type of research carried out and the results obtained in relevant fields (e.g., metallurgy, mineral processing and environmental processing).Footnote 57

The long-standing MEND Program – a cooperative research initiative involving the Canadian mining industry, federal and provincial governments, and non-government organizations – developed and applied new technologies to prevent and control acidic drainage as a result of mining activities. Through the MEND Program, Canadian mining companies and FPT government departments have reduced the liability due to acidic drainage by at least $400 million. S&T knowledge transfer under the MEND Program occurred through a web site, newsletters, workshops, case studies, and distribution of manuals, reports and workshop notes in paper and CD-ROM format.Footnote 58

The 2009 evaluationFootnote 59 of CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS S&T activities related to the minerals and metals sector in general – including those under the MMMII Sub-Activity – found that CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS had been successful in transferring S&T knowledge, expert advice, and technologies to industry and other stakeholders. Transfer primarily occurred through collaborative and cost recovery projects, although participation in several technical and standards committees also contributed to the process. Moreover, through client-sponsored S&T projects, CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS had a moderate influence on stakeholder-driven S&T agendas as well as on increased awareness and understanding among partners and clients of S&T, policy and industry issues.

The 2009 evaluation also found that CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS had published the findings of their research in targeted and relevant peer-reviewed journals. Bibliometric analysis conducted at that time indicated that:

  • CanmetMINING papers received, on average, 13 percent more citations than the average world paper between 1997 and 2006. Citations of CanmetMINING papers increased from just under the world level between 1997 and 2001, to above the world level between 2002 and 2006, such that CanmetMINING papers received, on average, 19 percent more citations than the average world paper in the latter time period.
  • CanmetMATERIALS papers received, on average, 10 percent fewer citations than the world papers published in journals in the same disciplines between 1997 and 2006. The average number of citations of CanmetMATERIALS papers decreased slightly from 1997–2001 to 2002–06.

The citations of CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS papers is notable, particularly since the primary mandate of CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS does not include the publication of scientific papers.

Is there early evidence that the relocation and rejuvenation of CanmetMATERIALS will contribute to greater intersectoral alignment and coordination of Canadian minerals and metals S&T and innovation?

Overall, the relocation of CanmetMATERIALS progressed according to the planned schedule and is nearing completion. Outstanding issues at the time of the evaluation include ongoing recruitment of staff and purchasing of new equipment. Despite extensive efforts to manage the workforce transition, some NRCan staff and external stakeholders expressed concerns over the loss of managerial and technical expertise due to the relocation, and if the issue had been addressed adequately by hiring appropriate replacements to date. While all three CanmetMATERIALS projects examined in this evaluation were able to meet their overall objectives, they all experienced delays and loss of expertise due to the relocation.

Emphasizing that it is too early to assess the outcomes of the CanmetMATERIALS relocation, interviewed NRCan staff and external stakeholders noted increased interest from the industry and academia near Hamilton to collaborate with CanmetMATERIALS following the decision to relocate. The CanmetMATERIALS annual performance metrics for scientific and technical achievements do not point to a clear trend with respect to post-relocation research performance at this point in time. It is important to note that the majority of equipment and employees were physically relocated in 2010-11, therefore this represented the period of maximum disruption. Staff numbers also declined and the majority of equipment was not operational. Therefore, MMS anticipates that performance metrics will be the weakest in 2010-11 and 2011-12. Some measures of CanmetMATERIALS research effectiveness improved between 2009-10 and 2010-11 (e.g., the number of universities, community colleges and other government research organizations working in collaborative projects with CanmetMATERIALS increased from nine to 17) whereas some others deteriorated (e.g., research projects established in partnership with industry declined from 94 to 21) or remained unchanged (e.g., external revenues received from industrial partners increased slightly from $1.83 million to $1.85 million).

4.2.2 Unintended Outcomes

Evaluation question Methodologies Assessment/Summary
5. Have there been any unintended (positive or negative) outcomes?
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Focused telephone surveys
There have been a few unintended outcomes as a result of the MMMII Sub-Activity.

Has the MMMII Sub-Activity produced additional impacts (e.g., unintended positive or negative outcomes) and, if so, what were these impacts?

The only unintended outcomes reported due to the MMMII Sub-Activity were positive but generated outside the Canadian mining industry, as described below.

  • The success and effectiveness of some mining information products developed under the MMMII Sub-Activity (e.g., the Aboriginal mining toolkit) has led to other countries adopting them.
  • After Bolivia revised its regulatory framework for the mining sector with support received from NRCan and CIDA under the CSR Strategy, its collection of mining revenues through royalties and taxes had increased substantially. As a result, the country had been able to fund additional social programs and infrastructure development projects.
  • Some MMMII knowledge products and information related to two recycling projects – “Sustainable Design for Buildings: A National Standard”; and “Let's Climb another Molehill” – supported the Canadian Standards Association in developing standards and guidance documents for sustainable construction (note that Knowledge Branch activities related to recycling are currently conducted under a different sub-activity).

4.2.3 Economy and Efficiency

Evaluation question Methodologies Assessment/Summary
6. Is the MMMII Sub-Activity the most economic and efficient means of achieving outputs and progress toward outcomes?
  • Document Review
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Focused telephone surveys
The overall efficiency of the MMMII Sub-Activity is solid. However, there may be room for improvement through addressing certain concerns (e.g., staffing; travel).

Is the MMMII Sub-Activity the most economic (cost-effective) means of achieving its intended objectives?

Efficiency

The goals and scope of the MMMII Sub-Activity programming have been reviewed and adjusted over time through internal exercises such as strategic review, reorganization and MMS renewal. As a result:

  • The MMMII Sub-Activity has become more focused on strategic priorities to ensure optimal resource use. For example, the review of Knowledge Branch documents confirmed that staff engaged in a prioritization exercise by assessing and ranking the activities of each division based on their relevance, need, feasibility, contributions and benefits to ensure alignment with the overarching MMMII strategy, as well as Knowledge Branch mandate. A three-year strategic business plan,dated October 2009, has also been developed to outline and guide Knowledge Branch priorities.Footnote 60
  • Both CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS have similar strategic business plans outlining the rationale, focus, expected results, and outputs of their respective S&T programs and activities.Footnote 61
  • Project selection tools for CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS were highlighted by interviewees as a strength. Economic analyses such as projected revenues, expenses and resources leveraged with partners, comparison of resources used against planned allocation, and assessment of similar projects carried out in the past ensure that the projects with potential for considerable economic impacts are prioritized and undertaken.
  • In general, MMS has adopted a flexible approach to programming to complement and leverage funding with external partners and stakeholders, recognizing that the mining sector is cyclical and economic downturns could affect not only the scope of industry activities (e.g., scaling down exploration and S&T efforts), but also the availability of resources both within NRCan and among partner and stakeholder organizations.
  • There are numerous examples of cooperation and sharing of resources. For example, CanmetMATERIALS shares McMaster University laboratory equipment and internally operates through a matrix approach so that equipment can be shared by multiple functional groups for optimal use. Multiple federal government departments work together to implement the CSR Strategy. Both the IGF and the UNCSD mining sessions involve working with other countries and international bodies. The FPT Committee on Mineral Statistics is a collaborative initiative with provincial and territorial governments. CMIC is a partnership with industry, government and academic/S&T stakeholders. Consequently, each of these initiatives has benefitted from other partner and stakeholder organizations contributing resources and expertise.

    Increased collaboration with external partners and stakeholders has complemented and leveraged resources. At the same time, Policy Branch and Knowledge Branch staff indicated that building rapport with strategic partners to secure external resources is also associated with the challenge of balancing NRCan’s mandate with the mandates of partner organizations.

A key factor contributing to the efficiency of the MMMII has been its qualified staff over the years. However, external stakeholders expressed concerns over a significant perceived loss of expertise and capacity over time as departing staff have not been replaced, which resulted in discontinuation of previously available products and services, or less effective programming. These observations were reported across all of MMMII.

External stakeholders attributed this trend to a lack of resources for succession planning to retain the knowledge and expertise and an inability to hire appropriate replacements. External stakeholders highlighted a steady decline in MMMII staffing level over time.

CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS staff also noted increasing inability to hire and retain adequate number of qualified staff due to resource challenges. Despite these widespread perceptions, the available estimated number of FTEs over the evaluation period appears to have been relatively stable at 140 per year.

Restrictions on travel, instituted partly in response to resource challenges, were also highlighted by staff as impeding their efforts to effectively reach out to, and engage with potential partners and stakeholders.

Economy

With respect to the economy of the MMMII, more information is required to confirm or refute the concerns reported by staff and external stakeholders over resource challenges.

As detailed in the Resources section of this report, available financial data indicates that the estimated total expenditures for MMMII were $83.1 million from 2007-08 to 2011-12, and were reasonably stable except for components coming into and leaving the Sub-Activity.

Despite what appears to be relatively stable expenditures, virtually all the NRCan staff interviewed (seven of the eight senior management staff and 13 of the 16 program staff) noted declining funding and resulting resource challenges over time. Some external stakeholders, as well as an internal review of the MMMKB, also reported similar concerns. NRCan staff and external stakeholders indicated that declining funding has affected the design and delivery of the MMMII Sub-Activity.

NRCan staff and the document reviewFootnote 62 indicated that, in some instances (e.g., administration of the Kimberley Process), new MMMII responsibilities were introduced without the provision of any additional resources.

Evaluation question Methodologies Assessment
7. How could the MMMII Sub-Activity be improved?
  • Document Review
  • Interviews
  • Case studies
  • Focused telephone surveys
There are opportunities to improve the efficiency of the MMMII Sub-Activity and address the challenges and limitations around assessing its economy.

Summary: Further efficiency can be gained by improving internal coordination and collaboration, planning and management of activities, staffing and resources, and performance measurement. With respect to economy, staff and stakeholder concerns about resource challenges could not be confirmed by reviewing the available financial data. It would be necessary to better track and report financial data for the MMMII Sub-Activity in order to fully understand the reported concerns over resource challenges.

How could the efficiency and strategic management practices of the MMMII Sub-Activity be improved?

Efficiency

The issues and challenges related to the efficiency of the MMMII Sub-Activity, as reported by NRCan staff and external stakeholders as well as through the document review, are described below.

Branches and laboratories, either, do not appear to have a formal strategic planning process in place, or fail to fully utilize their strategic planning processes to identify and focus on priorities. In addition, the prevalence of ad hoc and unanticipated assignments, often with tight deadlines, makes it difficult to carry out activities as planned. Furthermore, shifts in federal government priorities can lead to programming and resource allocation changes, which results in priorities encountering challenges in meeting long-term goals and outcomes.

There is a lack of integrated planning, coordination and communication internally among the MMMII components, resulting in missed opportunities for synergies. While there have been some recent internal collaboration efforts (e.g., a structured collaboration agreement between the Knowledge Branch and CanmetMINING), NRCan staff and the document reviewFootnote 63 indicated that there were potential opportunities to increase communication and collaboration internally among the branches and laboratories as well as with other program sub-activities. It is important to note that, under the 2012 revisions to the departmental Program Activity Architecture, the activities currently included in the MMMII Sub-Activity will be divided among three sub-activities.

As described below, branches and laboratories do not appear to have adequate performance measurement to inform management and planning.

  • Performance measurement for the Policy Branch is particularly challenging as activities generally contribute to long-term and often complex initiatives by informing, briefing and advising other entities that, in turn, make policy decisions. Consequently, the eventual outcomes of the initiatives cannot be directly attributed to Policy Branch activities.
  • A review of documents indicated that the Knowledge Branch makes efforts to measure, track and report on performance. The Knowledge Branch has incorporated data indicators and criteria for successful performance into its logic model with a view to assessing certain measures related to performance, accountability and timeliness against the planned outputs and outcomes of the logic model. Data (e.g., progress on Knowledge Branch projects, speed of responding to information requests, etc.) pertaining to these measures are collected, reviewed and discussed by Knowledge Branch staff monthly at Branch Management Committee meetings. However, there are ongoing challenges associated with tracking and managing staff time spent on multiple projects or tasks.
  • CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS do have a system in place to track and report on the outcomes of project activities, the Project Management Information System (PMIS). PMIS is designed to allow project leaders and program managers to track program activities (including tracking of staff hours and some support and administrative tasks) on a per project basis. PMIS is also intended to be used to record other relevant information such as project objectives, client information, planned costs and revenues, project duration and costs of internal support services associated with projects.
  • Nevertheless, the use of PMIS and associated tools does not appear to be consistent across all laboratory staff (e.g., extracts from PMIS were provided for each of the three CanmetMATERIALS case study projects suggesting that there were efforts to systematically track and manage the projects, whereas for the CanmetMINING case study projects, project post-mortem documents available for two of the three projects indicated that project-specific performance issues were tracked and discussed). Some CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS staff noted that the transition to the new financial management system (SAP), in 2011-12, is still ongoing and further work would be necessary in this area to ensure a fully functional and effective performance measurement and monitoring system to inform decision-making.

The departmental PAA (and the Performance Measurement Framework) has been revised in 2012 to better represent key program activities that are delivered horizontally (by two or more NRCan sectors) to facilitate reporting through the Report on Plans and Priorities (RPP) and the Departmental Performance Report (DPR). As part of this process, efforts are being made by the Sector to ensure that the Performance Measurement Framework includes data indicators and is supported by data collection systems to inform evaluations of MMMII activities going forward.

Lastly, NRCan staff across the MMMII Sub-Activity noted the need for various improvements in direction, coordination, communication and support functions internally in order to improve staff morale, productivity and efficiency, as described below.

  • Following the 2008 Sector reorganization, management and accountability about joint projects and initiatives involving the Knowledge Branch and the Policy Branch have become more challenging. As noted above, the respective roles and responsibilities of the Knowledge Branch and the Policy Branch are not clearly defined and understood, both internally and externally.
  • Within CanmetMINING, a specific project or initiative can span multiple programs and sub-activities, which complicates management and accountability.
  • Coordination among tasks, resources and staff could be improved; communication surrounding assignments and tasks are not always appropriately and efficiently managed (e.g., need for improvements in the way to capture, incorporate and relay back comments on documents as they move up the decision hierarchy); and support functions are not believed to be adequate (e.g., need for upgraded information technology systems, lengthy time period to process purchase requests, etc.).

In 2009, an internal review of the Knowledge Branch that consulted staff highlighted the need for creating a positive and rewarding work environment in light of similar challenges related to management, coordination, communication, and support functions.Footnote 64

Appendix A – Logic Model of the MMMII Sub Activity

Figure 4 Logic model for the MMMII Sub-Activity

Logic model for the MMMII Sub-Activity

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text version - figure 4

Figure 4

Figure 4 is the Logic model for the MMMII Sub-Activity.

The Influences/External Factors affecting the Sub-Activity include:

  1. Significant and Ongoing Contribution of the Minerals and Metals Industry to the Canadian Economy.
  2. Globalization of the Minerals and Metals Industry, Markets and Investment Environment.
  3. Sensitivity of Sector to Fluctuations in Economic Conditions and Exploration/Exploitation Trends.
  4. Highly Competitive Sector, Involves Multiple Stakeholders and is managed by Multiple Jurisdictions.
  5. Fragmented R&D across Minerals and Metals Stakeholders.

Resources for the Sub-Activity include:

  1. A-Base Funding;
  2. Other Base Funding (B/C);
  3. Employee Benefit Plan (EBP);
  4. Major Capital;
  5. Grants and Contributions;
  6. Net Voted Revenue;
  7. FTEs;
  8. Specialized Facilities and Equipment;
  9. Internal Management/Process Improvement.

These resources feed into the various components of the Sub-Activity (Knowledge Branch, Policy Branch, CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS).

Under Programs/Activities are the following:

  1. Collecting, analysing, metals and minerals related data and dissemination;
  2. Fulfilling regulatory responsibilities (e.g. RATS Act, Income Tax Act, Kimberly Process);
  3. Dialogue and collaboration with National and International decision-makers;
  4. Dialogue with Industrial Stakeholders about R&D and Innovation Strategies;
  5. Joint S&T with Industry to develop innovative mining/materials technologies; and
  6. Relocation of Materials Research Laboratory to Hamilton (Note: As of 2011-12, the relocation of CanmetMATERIALS is no longer included in the PAA as a Sub-Sub Activity under the MMMII, as completion of the relocation nears. However, the relocated and rejuvenated CanmetMATERIALS (box 3.6) is expected to contribute to joint S&T and the development of technologies in partnership with industry and academia (particularly those in Hamilton) under the MMMII.

Under the Outputs for MMMII are the following:

  1. Analyses, surveys, reports, papers, statistics, advice and dissemination materials;
  2. Lab certifications, diamond trade certifications, tax rulings;
  3. Attended and/or hosted conferences and events (national and international);
  4. Meetings with CMIC and Industrial Stakeholder Groups;
  5. Joint S&T Projects and Innovative Mining/Materials Technologies; and
  6. Relocated and rejuvenated CanmetMATERIALS.

A feedback loop exists between the Outputs, Programs/Activities and Resources of the Sub-Activity.

The Immediate Outcomes of MMMII are as follows:

  1. Increased awareness of and access to data/evidence for decision-making;
  2. Strategic partnerships and stronger linkages across different fora (national and international);
  3. Maintained/increased access to global minerals and metals markets;
  4. Greater intersectoral alignment and coordination of Canadian minerals/metals R&D and Innovationl; and
  5. Scientific and Technical Knowledge transferred to stakeholders.

The Intermediate outcomes for the Sub-Activity are as follows:

  1. Adoption/use of sound analysis and evidence-based advice into programs and policies;
  2. Coordinated national and international policies and programs;
  3. More competitive Canadian Investment climate for exploration, mining and processing;
  4. Stronger mining/material innovation system for both industry and government needs; and
  5. Improved mining/materials technologies used by industry.

The Long-Term Outcomes for MMMII are as follows:

  1. Increased investment in and economic value of Canada’s mining, metals and mineral sector; and
  2. Increased productivity and competitiveness of Canadian industry.

Figure 5 (Alignment of elements, branches, activities/outputs and the proposed methods).

This figure displays the evaluation methods as they fit in under the branches/activities of the Sub-Activity. MMMII was broken into three elements: Knowledge elements, dialogue elements, and S&T elements. The Knowledge and Policy Branches fall under Knowledge and Dialogue, while CanmetMINING and CanmetMATERIALS fall under Dialogue and S&T. Specifically, as under the MMMII Logic Model, this means:

Knowledge Element: Activities number 1 and 2; Outputs 1 and 2.

Dialogue Element: Activities 3 and 4; Outputs 3 and 4.

S&T Element: Activities 5 and 6; Outputs 5 and 6.

The methodologies used for each element were as follows:

Knowledge Element: Document, file and data review; interviews (internal and external); and focused telephone survey.

Dialogue Element: Document, file and data review; interviews (internal and external); and 4 Dialogue case studies (1 for Knowledge Branch activities and 3 for Policy Branch activities).

S&T Element: Document, file and data review; interviews (internal and external); and 6 S&T case studies (3 CanmetMATERIALS projects and 3 CanmetMINING projects).

Note: * As of 2011-12, the relocation of CanmetMATERIALS is no longer included in the PAA as a Sub-Sub Activity under the MMMII, as completion of the relocation nears. However, the relocated and rejuvenated CanmetMATERIALS (box 3.6) is expected to contribute to joint S&T and the development of technologies in partnership with industry and academia (particularly those in Hamilton) under the MMMII.

Appendix B – Detailed Overview of the MMMII Sub Activity Components

Minerals, Metals and Materials Knowledge Branch Overview

Objectives, Expected Results and Rationale

The Minerals, Metals and Materials Knowledge Branch (Knowledge Branch) is the government’s main source of information, statistics and knowledge related to minerals, metals and mining. The core objective of the Knowledge Branch is to collect and disseminate information and publications, enforce legislation, and provide expert knowledge, policy advice and support on economic, fiscal, statistical, trade, environment, and market access issues analysis and policy advice. The Knowledge Branch contributes to NRCan’s strategic outcomes by:

  • enforcing federal legislative and regulatory obligations;
  • providing knowledge, policy advice and support on economic, fiscal, statistical, trade, environment and market access issues; and
  • contributing to the development and implementation of Canadian standards and policies.Footnote 65

The Knowledge Branch’s activities are included in the MMMII Sub-Activity under Sub-sub Activity 1.1.1.2 (Socio-Economic Minerals and Metals Research and Knowledge for Investments and Competitiveness and Access to Global Markets). MMMII objectives are delivered by four divisions of the Branch. Each of these four divisions is involved in providing research and analysis that ensures that stakeholders have access to authoritative, evidence-based and unbiased information, partnerships and processes, as well as timely and reliable data, statistics, knowledge and policy advice to make informed decision-making.Footnote 66

Delivery Structure

The Industry and Economics Taxation Division (IETD) has responsibility for fiscal and investment analysis, mineral exploration analysis, industry and economic analysis, and tax rulings and expert opinions to the Canada Revenue Agency.

The Industry and Commodity Analysis Division (ICAD) is responsible for recycling, commodity analysis, the Kimberley Process, environmental policy and international trade issues involving minerals and metals. ICAD works with other government departments such as DFAIT, Environment Canada, Health Canada and Finance and provides evidence-based advice from the perspective of MMS in the context of domestic and international trade agreements and actions affecting this sector.

The Minerals and Mining Statistics Division (MMSD) is responsible for statistics on mineral exploration, production and use, and for trade data analysis. Much of the data produced by the Division is also shared within MMS, particularly with ICAD and IETD.

Finally, the Scientific and Technical Publishing and Knowledge Dissemination Division(STPKDD) is responsible for publications and knowledge dissemination, MMS web site management and facilitating MMS participation in industry conferences and events.

Governance

The Knowledge Branch is overseen by the Director General who reports to the ADM for MMS. Three of the Knowledge Branch divisions are managed by their directors, whereas one of them is directed by a chief. Each director is supported by program/project leads which are responsible for each business objective, its day-to-day operations and planning, project execution, reporting, and efficient and timely communication with project staff and directors. The program/project leads work closely with specific program/project staff and are further assisted in financial tracking and monitoring by additional support staff.

The strategic leadership of the Branch is provided by the Branch Management Committee (BMC).Footnote 67 The BMC functions as the principal decision-making body for policy, strategic and operational direction within Knowledge Branch. The BMC is particularly important in discussing the delivery of multi-division, multi-branch or multi-organizational activities in determining scope and breath of activities, identifying course correction measures and sharing/promoting results.

Minerals, Metals and Materials Policy Branch Overview

Objectives, Expected Results and Rationale

The Minerals, Metals and Materials Policy Branch (Policy Branch) facilitates the strategic, horizontal integration of policies, science, regulations and knowledge to increase the contribution of minerals, metals and materials industries to the economy of Canada. For example, the Policy Branch: provides policy and strategic advice; provides leadership and direction in the conceptualization, implementation, monitoring, and creation of interdepartmental, inter-jurisdictional, and international linkages and responses to strategic policy priorities; and promotes the development and monitoring of strategic linkages with key stakeholders.

The Policy Branch activities relate mostly to Sub-sub-Activity 1.1.1.2 (Socio-economic Minerals and Metals Research and Knowledge for Investments and Competitiveness and Access to Global Markets) although some are also funded under Sub-Sub-Activity 1.1.1.1.Footnote 68 The Policy Branch contributes to maximizing decision-making that encourages investment and participation in domestic and global markets via: 1) enabling partnerships; 2) coordinating FPT policies and programs to foster a competitive domestic investment climate; 3) participating in international dialogue to represent Canada’s interests in international policy and trade discussions; and 4) participating in international fora and working groups.Footnote 69 While other branches are also involved in some partnerships and dialogue activities, these represent the Policy Branch’s core mandate.

Delivery Structure

The Policy Branch under MMMII is comprised of three main divisions. First, the Sustainable Mining and Materials Policy Division (SMMPD) works with a number of departments and industrial partners, providing guidance in the conceptualization, implementation and monitoring of strategic policy priorities.

Second, the Strategic Outreach and Partnerships Division (SOPD) promotes and develops relationships with key stakeholders – especially in the global context – and negotiates, advances, and monitors a number of international bilateral agreements with foreign governments (e.g., MOUs). The Division develops and implements an outreach strategy to maximize the ability of MMS to advance its priorities.

Finally, the Sectoral Coordination and Planning Division (SCPD) is mainly responsible for collecting and managing documentation relative to MMS, and acting as the main liaison for coordination with other MMS branches. A key role of the SCPD is ensuring the alignment and progress of MMS priorities, goals and objectives with government and departmental priorities goals, and objectives.

Governance

The Policy Branch is under the leadership of a DG. Each of the three Policy Branch divisions under MMMII is managed by a director who reports to the DG. In addition, the Branch also employs a special advisor at the level of a director. Senior management is supported by program leads and specific program staff, as well as administrative staff.

CanmetMINING Overview

Objectives, Expected Results and Rationale

The mandate of CanmetMINING is to provide research and scientific advice to the mining and minerals industries, and to FPT government departments involved in promoting or regulating these industries.Footnote 70 Under the MMMII Sub-Activity, CanmetMINING focuses on mineral extraction and processing research projects, as well as activities concerning the Canadian Mining Innovation Council (in association with the MMMPB).

As shown in Figure 1, three components of CanmetMINING fall under MMMII, more specifically under Sub-sub-Activity 1.1.1.1 (Mining Scientific Research and Innovation). The first two components comprise two research areas (Mineral Extraction S&T and Mineral Processing S&T) in which projects are conducted to develop innovative technology, such as ground control technologies, and to ensure economic competitiveness through efficient and safe mining extraction.Footnote 71 The third component concerns participation in CMIC, in which the laboratory contributes to stimulating innovations through collaboration with industry stakeholders.Footnote 72

Delivery Structure

The first two components – Mineral Extraction and Mineral Processing S&T – are comprised of projects that are generally identified as core or cost recovery. A recent evaluation of CanmetMINING’s S&T activities covering the 2002-03 to 2006-07 period found that, for CanmetMINING as a whole, the majority of projects (75 percent) were cost recovery in nature.Footnote 73

Mineral Extraction S&T activities are designed to address the need for safer and more cost-effective approaches and energy-efficient methods of extraction through three specific programs:Footnote 74 1) “Mine Mechanization and Automation,” in which a team of specialized engineers work with the mining industry to enhance health and safety in underground mining operations, facilitate mechanization and automation, improve mine profitability, and provide sound science to Canadian regulatory agencies;Footnote 75 2) “Mine Air Quality and Ventilation,” the goal of which is to improve air quality and safety of the mine environment both underground and in surface operations, and to evaluate approaches that may provide health and/or financial benefits; and 3) “Ground Control,” a program that works with the mining industry to increase productivity and extend mine lives, as well as to improve the safety of miners.

The Mineral Processing S&T component of CanmetMINING conducts research to improve process efficiency and to develop new, cost-effective treatment processes. This research is carried out through two programs: 1) “Applied Mineralogy,” that involves the development of technology to better characterize minerals and minimize mineral losses; and 2) “Metallurgical Processing” program that characterizes systems, and helps develop new processes and techniques to improve metal recovery and diminish environmental impact.

The third and final MMMII component within CanmetMINING relates to the laboratories involvement in the implementation of the CMIC together with the MMMPB.

Governance

CanmetMINING is managed by a DG who reports to the ADM for MMS. The DG oversees research programs and regional laboratories managed by their directors. The DG and directors are supported by administrative staff. CanmetMINING uses a traditional program-based organizational structure to plan and structure their activities (as opposed to a matrix structure used by CANMETMATERIALS, see below).

S&T activities within CanmetMINING are managed by program managers who supervise project leaders or who occasionally act as project leaders themselves. The project leaders are responsible for the preparation of project proposals for internal or external clients. Following a project approval, the project leader and program managers work together to allocate resources appropriately, to keep the project team focused on the right goal, and to monitor the project completion time and budget.

CanmetMATERIALS Overview

Objectives, Expected Results and Rationale

Initially, CanmetMATERIALS had two major components under the MMMII:Footnote 76

  • the Ecomaterials research activity area conducted under the Emerging Materials Research Program; and
  • the relocation and rejuvenation of CanmetMATERIALS to Hamilton (prior to 2011-12).

With regard to the first component, the expected outcome of the Emerging Materials Research Program is the development of new or improved materials and processes for use in emerging value-added applications to enhance performance and productivity.Footnote 77 The Program is composed of two research activity areas: 1) Materials for Defence Applications; and 2) Ecomaterials. Importantly, while the Materials for Defence Applications have been administered under a different sub-activity (3.1.4) since the introduction of the current PAA, Ecomaterials initially fell under the MMMII when the Sub-Activity was established in 2008. However, the component was moved under a different sub-activity in 2010 and, currently, none of CanmetMATERIALS activities belong directly under the MMMII Sub-Activity. This shift in the PAA is reflected in further sections of the report where findings relating to CanmetMATERIALS’s relevance and performance are discussed.

The relocation of CanmetMATERIALS – announced by NRCan on July 5, 2005 – formerly represented Sub-Sub-Activity 1.1.1.3 within the MMMII. However, it has been recently removed from the PAA as the relocation of CanmetMATERIALS nears completion. The relocation is intended to facilitate interactions with local industry and universities while the rejuvenation and relocation of the laboratory are meant to improve its overall capacity in support of CanmetMATERIALS’s mandate to research, develop and deploy materials technologies and processes. In relation to the MMMII, this activity specifically includes the development of technologies in partnership with industry and academia. A full audit and evaluation of the relocation were planned for 2011-12 and this evaluation thus covered this component only marginally.

Delivery Structure

Most activities under the Ecomaterials research program are run on a project basis which are using a dual model: internal (core) projects and revenue generating cost recovery projects. Core projects are generally performed to enhance the core competencies of the laboratories and to support government and external needs, with the objective to support government policies and priorities. They do not often involve external industrial partners, and are entirely funded internally through A-base funding. Cost recovery projects, while also supporting the goals and mandate of the Department, are performed for industry and other types of clients and generate either partial or full cost recovery. These projects are client-focused and are usually oriented toward short-term problem solving. They may involve one or multiple clients or partners/collaborators. Similarly to CanmetMINING, the S&T activities of the Emerging Materials Program within CanmetMATERIALS were evaluated for the years 2002-03 to 2006-07, finding that for CanmetMATERIALS as a whole, the majority (85 percent) of projects were cost recovery in nature.Footnote 78

Governance

CanmetMATERIALS governance structure is comprised of the DG, supported by the Director of Operations and a management team comprising program mangers and functional group leaders. The management is supported by administrative staff. To manage its S&T activities, CanmetMATERIALS employs a matrix management structure. The managerial dimension of the matrix includes a Director, a Deputy Director, a Finance and Administration Officer, a Business Development Officer, and a non-destructive testing (NDT) Certification Manager. Under the leadership of the Director and Deputy Director, projects are managed and performed by five core research programs. S&T activities are project-driven and contribute to one or several of the laboratory’s five principle research themes. Under this structure, staff members are assigned to functional groups rather than to S&T programs. Project leaders in CanmetMATERIALS form project teams drawn from different functional groups depending on the competencies that are required. Similarly to CanmetMINING, S&T is essentially managed by program managers who supervise project leaders or who occasionally act as project leaders themselves. The project leaders, working with program managers, are responsible for the preparation of project proposals for internal or external clients. Once a project proposal has been approved internally and/or externally, the project leaders, program managers and the functional group leaders work together to allocate resources appropriately and to keep the project on time and budget.

Appendix C – Data Collection Methodology Details

Table 1: Data collection methodology details

Method
Details
Stakeholder interviews Total number of interviews 48
Total number of internal interviews 23
Senior management (Knowledge & Dialogue) 4
Program staff (Knowledge & Dialogue) 9
Senior management (S&T) 3
Program staff (S&T) 6
Total number of external interviews 25
Industry/industry associations 14
Other stakeholders (provincial/territorial governments, OGDs) 11
Focused telephone survey Total number of participants 57
Overall response rate 70%
MMMKB:
Total population (a) 71
Unreached potential survey respondent (b) 13
Valid survey population (c=a-b) 58
Declined (d) 19
Completed surveys (e) 39
Valid Response rate (e/c) 67%
MMMPB:
Total population (a) 46
Unreached potential survey respondent (b) 23
Valid survey population (c=a-b) 23
Declined (d) 5
Completed surveys (e) 18
Valid Response rate (e/c) 78%
CanmetMINING/CanmetMATERIALS Case Studies Total number of case studies 6
Number of CanmetMINING projects reviewed 3
Mine Mechanization and Automation 1
Ground Control 2
Number of CanmetMATERIALS projects reviewed 3
Emerging and Composite Materials 3
Total number of interviews
(8 internal and 6 external)
14
Including project document and file reviews (proposal, amendments,
project status reports, client report, other documents)
MMMPB/MMMKB Case Studies Total number of case studies 4
Number of MMMKB case studies 3
Number of MMMPB case studies 1
Total number of interviews
(8 internal and 12 external)
20
Including project document and file reviews (activity/project documentation, presentations to forums, documents from collaborating OGDs)

Alignment of Elements, Branches, Activities/Outputs and the Proposed Methods

Alignment of Elements, Branches, Activities/Outputs and the Proposed Methods

[text version - figure 5] [Larger image - figure 4]

Appendix D – Overview of the Case Studies

Table 1: Main Results and Outcomes/Benefits from Case Studies
Project Need(s) being addressed Main results Outcome/benefit NRCan/Canada Outcome/benefit for partner/client

Fuel Cell Integration in a Lunar Rover Prototype (CanmetMINING-1)

Build and field test self-powered in-situ resource utilization unit for CSA and NASA, to collect material samples in aerospace applications Tested and demonstrated capability of a lunar rover prototype to be powered by an integrated hydrogen fuel cell
  • New and prestigious collaboration (CSA, NASA)
  • Knowledge on hydrogen fuel cells that is transferable to other ongoing projects
  • Transfer of mining knowledge to aerospace industry
  • Novel and efficient product assembly
  • Useful data on performance of hydrogen fuel cell at high altitudes
Research investigation of rheological behaviour in triaxial state of halite from Canadian potash mines (CanmetMINING-2) Determining rheological behaviour of soft rocks under pressure for mining S&T, safety and design of excavation shafts Old equipment was renewed to perform a series of rock characterization tests and automate some aspects of data collection,
Technical notes provided to client
  • Refurbished equipment to ASTM standards
  • Expanded in-house rheological expertise
  • New rock characterization tests available for offered to other clients
  • Rheological data to determine parameters for mine design
  • Information used to refine partner’s existing computer models to predict safer mine shaft excavations
Fiber-Reinforced Concrete/Shotcrete Flexural Testing and Analysis for KPM Industries Ltd (CanmetMINING-3) Testing of fibre-reinforced concrete and shotcrete (used in mines) to determine strength and toughness Test developed and used to analyze client-provided samples of fibre-reinforced shotcrete for mining applications
  • Refinement of testing method means same services are now offered to other clients
  • Knowledge gained lead to current development of new dynamic testing method
  • Detailed analyses of sample performance characteristics in order to compare/sell against other samples on the market
Processing and Property Evaluation of Magnesium Composites / University of Windsor #507 (CanmetMATERIALS-1) Development of light-weight composite for use in Canadian auto industry; eventual application to car engines to reduce fuel consumption and emissions Process developed to fabricate light-weight magnesium composites for use in auto industry – results published in two peer-reviewed journals and presented at international conference
  • Expanded scientific understanding on the mechanical behaviour of Mg composites
  • Strengthened partnership with university though relocation to Hamilton
  • Expanded scientific understanding on the mechanical behaviour of Mg composites
  • Work is ongoing at the partner institution, expected future transfer to the auto industry
Development of Corrosion Condition Monitoring System (CanmetMATERIALS-2) Create a system to monitor the corrosion of Canadian Army Ground Vehicles, in order to make conclusions on the degree of maintenance and repair; wide application to monitoring marine/factory degradation, etc. Suitable signal-blocking metallic coating achieved, corrosion testing currently in progress
  • Expecting to be able to widely apply the knowledge gained and technology developed to other fields
  • Department of National Defence has continued this work with CanmetMATERIALS to support implementation
  • Strengthened inter-department collaboration
  • Expecting functional corrosion monitoring system
Welding and Joining of Galfenol (CanmetMATERIALS-3) Investigative study to determine the feasibility of welding a Galfenol (a relatively new iron-gallium alloy) to engineer sensors and actuators for military applications Series of welding trials completed to determine the welding properties of Galfenol
  • Expanded knowledge and in-house expertise on welding of a new material (Galfenol)
  • International recognition as results were shared through the Technical Cooperation Program
  • Work is ongoing at the partner’s lab to a) further characterize properties of Galfenol; and b) build sensor and actuator prototypes
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Strategy
  • Host Country Capacity-Building;
  • CSR Performance Guidelines and Reporting;
  • Creating a CSR Centre of Excellence
  • Establishing an Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor
  • Enhance the entrepreneurial advantage of Canadian mining sector in a competitive world market
  • Promote Canadian values internationally;
  • Enhance capacities of developing countries to manage their natural resources
  • Contribute to the sustainable development of communities by fostering and promoting CSR and capacity building in host countries
  • Provide sectoral expertise to participating federal departments
  • Create a forum that provides access to CSR tools and information for industry and governments
  • Establish a mechanism to resolve disputes
  • Provided expertise and advice to several developing countries to develop their mining governance/tax royalties systems:
  • technical assistance in the development of environmental mining regulations, guidelines and codes of practice (Guyana);
  • facilitated a government/industry workshop on fiscal policy for mining (Mali); and
  • training on the mining cycle to indigenous peoples in various developing countries (Africa, Latin America, Asia)
  • Provided MMS expertise to CIDA and DFAIT:
  • provided mining technical expertise and country specific information and statistics (e.g., Senegal, Mali);
  • accompanied CIDA on a foreign mission (e.g., Mongolia)
  • Co-established/enhanced the work of the Office of the Extractive Sector CSR Counsellor that accepts and reviews complaints about behaviour of Canadian mining companies abroad
  • The office has processed 200+ information requests and has received some formal complaints
  • Tools developed that enhance the sector’s CSR capacity
  • CSR forum (Centre of Excellence) established in collaboration with industry within the Canadian Institute of Mining (CIM); and
  • NRCan also leads Canada’s participation in The Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI).
  • Established stronger governance systems in selected countries of interest for Canadian mining industry
  • Canadian values/practices adopted by some other countries - positioning Canada as one of the leaders in CSR
  • CIDA’s and DFAIT’s capacity in CSR strategy strengthened by NRCan expertise
  • Canadian mining companies reporting on CSR increased substantially (indirect measure of CSR adoption by companies)
  • Improved the image of mining activities and mining industry.
  • Increased capacity to manage natural resources in a technically and environmentally sound manner within their borders
  • Increased revenue from mining tax royalties (Bolivia)
  • Greater transparency of mining operations within their limits
Inter-governmental forum (IGF) on minerals, metals and sustainable development
  • Support implementation of paragraph 46 of the Johannesburg World Summit Plan of Implementation (co-sponsored by Canada)
  • Promote better governance of the mining sector in developing countries (using Canada’s expertise)
  • Contribute to the review of mining undertaken in 2010-2011 by the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)
  • NRCan supported the IGF by hosting the Forum’s Secretariat and organizing the forum’s annual meetings
  • Membership covers the geographical regions of Africa, Latin America, Asia and North America (Canada only)
  • Established partnerships with multilateral organizations such as UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNEP, ILO, World Bank, International Finance Corporation
  • Established linkages with other intergovernmental organizations to avoid duplications and share available expertise;
  • Global dialogue on topics such as:
  • national mining policy framework: priorities, data collection and management
  • framework on investor’s perception of country risks
  • framework for country perceptions of investors risks
  • environmental impact assessment: elements and process
  • NRCan subject experts were used to cover a number of topics (e.g., taxation, environment) of interest to developing countries governments
  • IGF developed The Global Mining Policy Framework which discusses how mining can enhance sustainable development; the framework was presented at the UNCSD’s 19th session
  • Consolidation of Canada’s position in global policy-making
  • Forum to present and share Canada’s best practices, influence practices in other countries
  • Collaboration with new partner countries
  • Forum to discuss/share/receive information on mining governance practices around the world
  • Leveraging expertise of developed countries
  • Having a voice in international policy-making
Leading the Government of Canada participation in the review of mining by the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (UNCSD)
  • Ensure Canada’s presence and involvement by:
  • preparing Canada’s national report on Canada’s mining governance model and the contribution of mining to sustainable development
  • attending two preparatory conferences
  • participating in the review sessions held in New York
  • Canada National Report prepared and submitted to the UN Division for Sustainable Development
  • Canada represented at the preparatory conferences and review sessions
  • Canadian representative presented IGF-developed mining policy framework
  • Topics raised and discussed during the CSD-18/19 sessions included:
  • strengthening legal framework
  • mining closure planning
  • growth in demand and adverse environmental impacts, need to reduce environmental footprint
  • increasing stakeholder participation
  • improving transparency
  • strengthening governance
  • providing support for capacity building
  • distribution of benefits
  • recycling of materials
  • human rights
  • Having a voice in international policy- and decision-making with regards to mining and sustainable development
  • Influence on the global discussion via the IGF policy framework, adoption of policy options by the Commission
  • Leveraging expertise of Canada
  • Sharing best practices
  • Active role in policy negotiations
Federal-provincial-territorial committee on mineral statistics (FPTCMS)
  • Improve statistical information on Canada’s mineral industry
  • Establish national standards and concepts for mineral statistics by harmonizing methodology and definitions
  • Eliminate duplications, minimize administrative burden on mining industry
  • Develop and update national standards for minerals and metals data collection
  • Organize a forum to discuss national approach and best practices
  • NRCan coordinates joint efforts between the federal government and participating provinces & territories in conducting the Survey of Mineral Exploration, Deposit Appraisal and Mine Complex Development Expenditures
  • Survey conducted twice a year
  • 92% response rate in 2008
  • 1500 questionnaires were distributed in February 2009
  • Regularly produced, reliable national minerals statistics that provide a solid national picture and allow for comparison among jurisdictions
  • Well-developed communication channels on mineral statistics between NRCan and provinces/territories
  • Guidance and tools for collecting mineral statistics
  • Logistic support from NRCan
  • Forum to meet with representatives of other jurisdictions; and
  • Ability to compare one’s mining industry to the one of other provinces/territories.