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Mining and exploration activities are contributing significantly in terms of economic and social benefits to provinces and territories. At the Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC), the mines ministers and senior government officials discussed current challenges the mining sector is facing and the opportunities that lie ahead.
The Ministers agreed to move forward on key issues requiring continued attention and a coordinated approach. The following key themes and priorities were discussed:
Benefits From Mining
The value of mineral production in Canada was nearly $47 billion in 2012, and Canadian-headquartered mining companies accounted for nearly 37 percent of budgeted worldwide exploration expenditures in 2012. In Canada, the industry directly employed about 400,000 people in 2012 and contributed $60 billion to Canada’s nominal GDP in activities from mining to downstream processing. The mining industry is especially important for Aboriginal peoples, who made up about 8,000 people in its workforce in 2012. During this year’s conference, priority areas that the Ministers discussed included: green mining, the mining sector performance report, regulatory reform and mandatory reporting standards for Canadian extractive companies.
Mining Sector Performance Report
The Ministers released the 2013 edition of the Mining Sector Performance Report (MSPR), which provides analysis of the Canadian mining sector’s economic, environmental and social performance over the 1998–2012 period. The report assesses the performance of the mining sector through 23 different indicators and was developed in collaboration with an intergovernmental Working Group Subcommittee. The subcommittee was made up of members from 9 provinces and territories, and consulted with an external advisory committee representing stakeholders from industry, NGOs, academia, and Aboriginal groups.
Mandatory Reporting Standards for Canadian Extractive Companies
Canada is recognized as a world leader in promoting transparency and accountability in the extractive sector both at home and abroad. Prime Minister Harper announced at this year’s G8 summit that Canada will be establishing new mandatory reporting standards for domestic extractive companies.
It is anticipated that the regime will enhance transparency and accountability with regard to material payments such as taxes, licence fees and other receipts to all levels of government domestically and internationally.
Going forward, the federal government will continue to consult closely with the extractive industry provincial and territorial governments, First Nations and Aboriginal groups and non-governmental organizations on how to establish the most effective regime.
Green Mining Initiative
The Ministers endorsed and approved the Green Mining Initiative (GMI) Progress Report entitled Addressing Regulatory Barriers to the Adoption of Green Mining Technologies in Canada. The results of the study will foster innovation by helping regulators when creating or modernizing regulations.
Ministers tasked officials to continue their work on the role of regulations in adopting new technologies. As part of this work, an untested green mining technology will undergo a rigorous standard assessment to verify its performance through Environment Canada’s Environmental Technology Verification Program. The outcomes will be discussed with regulators and industry. Officials worked closely with regulators to ensure that there would be adequate incentive to use the verification processes in the mining sector. Three important aspects of GMI include:
- Enhancing industry engagement and communication to raise regulatory awareness and level of comfort with new technologies;
- Assessing the feasibility of GMI-Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) programs; and
- Assessing the use of outcome-based regulations as a means to foster mining innovation.
The GMI was created to help the Canadian mining industry in R&D focused on improved environmental protection and remediation, and to develop new and better alternatives to existing technologies for mineral extraction, mineral processing and environmental reclamation.
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Office of Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources
Natural Resources Canada
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Government of the Northwest Territories
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