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Transcription of a Speech by:

The Honourable David Anderson
Parliamentary Secretary, Natural Resources

Speech to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada
2010 International Convention and Trade Show

March 8, 2010
Toronto, Ontario

Check against delivery

I want to thank the Prospector and Developers’ Association of Canada for the opportunity to speak with you today. It’s a pleasure to be here and, on behalf of the Minister of Natural Resources and the government of Canada, to welcome our many international visitors. We were talking a little earlier about PDAC and its formation almost 80 years ago, but it has certainly grown to be an incredible international event.

I understand you’re going to have over 20,000 visitors this week, and you have visitors from over 120 countries. This is an outstanding event, by far the biggest of its kind anywhere. The international success of this convention demonstrates Canada’s mining sector’s global influence and the respect you have earned around the world.

Your industry is more than a major part of Canada’s economy. It is a major global leader. Canada has great mineral and metal resources, and our industry is making the most of them, from nickel and copper to diamonds and gold.

Speaking of gold, you may have heard that we had a major new discovery in Vancouver and Whistler last month – and we of course are very proud of our Olympic athletes. With those 14 gold medals, they’ve done something that no other country has ever done.

Just like our medal-winning athletes, the Canadian mining industry is a strong ambassador for our country. Your success in other regions of the world opens doors and creates new opportunities for many other sectors of the economy.

It’s good to see that the mood of this year is much more optimistic. The mining industry is showing signs of recovery. Commodity prices are improving. Jobs have been created and reinstated. The long-term prognosis is good. That’s important to all of us, because a strong mining sector is essential to a strong Canada. It’s essential to strong communities in our country.

Last week’s Speech from the Throne and the new Budget both reflect and reaffirm our priorities, making the investments that we need to see us through this difficult time while ensuring that we emerge in an even stronger position on the other side.

Canada’s rich mineral resources continue to represent significant economic opportunities. Our government understands that promoting exploration and development of these resources offers important investment opportunities. It offers employment and infrastructure benefits to rural and remote communities and indeed to communities across this country.

Our strategy is clear. We want to work with you to combine the best of our intellectual and natural resources to create jobs, growth and opportunity. We’ve made investments in innovation, in infrastructure, in a sound financial system, and we are working with the provinces and territories to improve the regulatory system. These continue to be top priorities for our government.

To put it simply, we want Canada to be the best place in the world to invest. We want a strong and competitive industry that leads the world in environmental performance and in social responsibility. A key element in achieving that goal is completing a fundamental transformation of our regulatory system. Our commitment is straightforward. As we said in the Speech from the Throne, the government is in the process of creating simpler, clearer regulatory processes that offer improved environmental protection and greater certainty to industry.

The government has taken specific actions to improve the performance of the federal regulatory review system in order to strengthen our competitiveness while ensuring environmental protection. It launched the Major Projects Management Office Initiative in 2008 to foster a more accountable and effective whole-of-government approach to the review of resource projects. This is improving the existing federal regulatory system.

However, broader changes are necessary to deliver predictable and timely project reviews, to reduce regulatory burden and duplication, to improve environmental protection and to deliver more meaningful Aboriginal consultation. Immediate action on a comprehensive approach is required to address shortcomings in the regulatory system in order to position Canada for long-term growth and job creation.

That’s not the only thing that we are doing. You already know about our five-year, $100-million investment in geoscience which is targeted in Canada’s North and was announced in Budget 2008. I’m happy to tell you that four new data releases under the Geo-mapping for Energy Minerals program are available today, as well as eight more scheduled for release in the upcoming months.

Budget 2010 renews funding of $12 million over two years for the Targeted Geosciences Initiative with a focus on developing new ways of exploring for deeper mineral deposits. While creating opportunities here at home, this will help improve our industry’s competitiveness while attracting international investment.

We’re also continuing our support for industry by extending the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit so that more companies can take advantage of the data we gather. It is estimated that the cost of this extension will be $65 million over two years. We’ve also extended the Accelerated Capital Cost Allowance for machinery and equipment, and as you may know we have also made a commitment to lower tariffs across the board as soon as possible.

It’s significant that, by 2015, Canada will have the lowest overall tax rate on new business investment in the G8. Sound regulatory and financial systems ensure a competitive sector. But equally important is operating in a socially and environmentally responsible manner, both domestically and around the world.

Expectations are rising, and performance needs to continue to improve to meet those expectations. At the same time, we need to communicate the good work that’s already in progress. I want to congratulate Canada’s mining industry for its efforts in this area and for the progress that it’s making.

PDAC has continued to demonstrate its commitment to sustainability. Good work like PDAC’s E3-plus program for responsible exploration continues to expand. The Mining Association of Canada continues to move forward with its Towards Sustainable Mining Strategy. And you deserve special recognition for your efforts to partner with and open new economic opportunities for Aboriginal Canadians.

Our government is pleased to complement your efforts with our commitment of more than $70 million to economic development in Aboriginal communities. Your support for the Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy that our government released last year has been outstanding. We are proud to be a partner in the creation of the Canadian Institute of Mining Centre for Excellence in CSR.

We have taken action with industry to improve environmental performance through NRCan’s Green Mining Initiative. With your partnership, this multi-stakeholder initiative will accelerate the development of alternative technologies and methods that support green mining. At this point I would like to make an invitation to you to come to the NRCan booth that’s in the trade show so you can see some of the examples of that in the display there. This partnership involves Canadian Mining and Innovation Council with an early focus on improving energy efficiency and innovation in mine waste management.

This industry has made our country a global mining giant. I can assure you that the government of Canada is committed to working with the industry to maintain and grow this status and to support your efforts to strengthen your environmental and social responsibility performance.

Mining has been a cornerstone of the Canadian economy for many, many years and it’s a cornerstone of our economy today. Our government is committed to working with you to ensure that this is the case for many, many years in the future. We want to be the best place in the world to invest in mineral exploration and mining. Thank you and my best wishes for a great convention.