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At the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC), federal, provincial and territorial ministers discussed the challenges facing the mining industry and opportunities for coordinated support for the sector. The following key themes and priorities were discussed:
Mining is a Major Asset
Canada mining sector1 is a global leader with Canadian-headquartered companies accounting for 40 percent of budgeted worldwide exploration expenditures in 2011. In Canada, the industry directly employed more than 320,000 people in 2011 and contributed $62.5 billion to Canada’s nominal GDP in activities from mining to downstream processing.
During this year’s conference, the ministers discussed current mining sector opportunities and challenges, as well as the economic impact of mining development. Priority areas include: green mining, the mining sector performance report, regulatory reform, labour markets and outreach efforts to ensure Canadians have the facts about these important issues, which impact Canada's economy and our quality of life.
The ministers also reviewed the work undertaken on the basis of voluntary participation by provinces and territories toward the development of an inventory of advanced mineral projects. The inventory is intended to better identify resource development opportunities, promote targeted intergovernmental collaboration efforts and support job creation and economic growth.
Green Mining Initiative
The ministers approved an action plan to bolster innovation in the Canadian mining sector by reducing barriers associated with regulatory decision making that impede adoption of green mining technologies. Actions include: enhancing engagement and communications with industry and regulators; assessing the feasibility of an environmental technology verification program for green mining; and assessing the use of outcome-based regulations as means to foster mining innovation.
The Green Mining Initiative (GMI) was created to help the Canadian mining industry address environmental issues through research to improve ways to protect and remediate the environment, and to develop new and better alternatives to existing technologies for mineral extraction, mineral processing and environmental reclamation.
Mining Sector Performance Report Indicators
The ministers discussed the preparation of the 2013 edition of the Mining Sector Performance Report, which will provide an evidence-based analysis of the Canadian mining sector’s economic, environmental and social performance over a period of 10 years. They endorsed a conceptual framework and a list of performance indicators for the updated report, which updates the one released by mines ministers in 2010.
Intergovernmental Geoscience Accord
Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial geoscience agencies are responsible for delivering public geoscience programs that provide fundamental geological information and expertise to better understand the Canadian land mass and to support responsible resource development and environmental stewardship. The signing of the 4th Intergovernmental Geoscience Accord by Canada’s mines ministers marks a further five-year commitment among Canada’s geoscience agencies to work collectively to increase core public geoscience knowledge available to all Canadians. The Intergovernmental Geoscience Accord defines the roles and responsibilities of federal, provincial and territorial government geoscience agencies; outlines the principles of cooperation that will optimize the use of human and fiscal resources; and establishes mechanisms to improve collaboration among these organizations.
The ministers received a report on implementing improvements to the efficiency and effectiveness of the regulatory review process for major projects. They recognized the important progress made in regulatory reform and the opportunity to capitalize on measures in the Government of Canada’s Responsible Resource Development plan in order to reduce regulatory duplication and achieve the objective of “one project, one review” in a clearly defined time frame, while maintaining the highest possible standard for protecting Canadians and the environment.
Defining the Opportunity
Canada’s enormous natural resource endowment represents a critical component of our current and future economic prosperity. The ministers received a report entitled Defining the Opportunity, which outlines the economic impact of the energy and mining sectors in Canada. The report, produced by Natural Resources Canada in collaboration with the provinces and territories, is available on the Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat website www.scics.gc.ca.
1 Includes coal and uranium.
Office of the Minister
Natural Resources Canada
Natural Resources Canada
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