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Notes for a Speech by
The Honourable Joe Oliver, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Natural Resources
Opening Ceremony of China Mining Congress and Expo 2011
November 6, 2011
Check against delivery
Good morning everyone.
On behalf of Canada’s Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Stephen Harper, I bring greetings to all of the delegates attending this premier global mining forum.
It truly is one of the most important events for people in the mining sector to meet, discuss common issues and identify opportunities.
And as you may know, Canada annually hosts the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada event in March. It also brings together the mining sector from around the world, and I would like to extend an invitation to everyone to attend this coming year’s conference in Toronto, Canada.
The Canada-China relationship is deeply rooted in friendship, mutual respect and cooperation, which we hope to strengthen in the years ahead.
As Prime Minister Harper said when he hosted Chinese President Hu in Ottawa last year: “Our mutual respect grows with every encounter, as do our shared aspirations for stronger Canada-China relations in a better world.”
I wish to acknowledge Minister Xu Shaoshi, head of China’s Ministry of Land and Resources, as well as representatives here on this stage from Australia and South Africa.
Although I have visited China several times, this is my first visit to China as Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, and I’m looking forward to our discussions at this conference.
CANADA IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS
The department that I oversee has long and close ties to China Mining.
Representatives of Natural Resources Canada have participated in this conference since its inception some 13 years ago.
In the intervening period, China has experienced incredible change — a rapidly expanding economy, unprecedented development of new infrastructure and growing cities.
In my brief time here, I’ve already seen just how excited and optimistic the people of China are about their future. The talk is all about continuing growth, better jobs and a higher standard of living.
And underpinning all of this economic activity is China’s need for resources — whether that be mineral, energy or forestry resources.
In 2010, China consumed 37% of the world’s copper, 41% of the world’s aluminium, 42% of the world’s zinc, 44% of the world’s steel and 67% of the world’s production of iron ore.
China’s economic demand for metals is truly impressive.
Today, I’m here to tell you that Canada can and is willing to help provide the resources China and the world needs to fuel its economic growth.
As a global mining power, Canada can help China meet its growing economic needs while strengthening both of our economies — creating jobs and continued prosperity.
CANADA IS READY TO HELP
Canada has the international experience and the broad-based expertise to play a role in the development of China’s mining sector. We are committed to open trade and investment and to transparent regulation.
GLOBAL SCALE OF CANADA’S MINING SECTOR
By any measure, Canada’s mining sector is a global powerhouse.
Canadian exploration and mining companies now operate in over 100 countries with cumulative assets worth approximately $109 billion outside Canada.
Canada produces more than 60 minerals and metals and is one of the world’s leading exporters.
Canada is the world’s largest producer of potash, second-largest producer of uranium, and among the top producers of primary aluminum, cobalt, nickel, platinum group metals, titanium concentrate and zinc.
And we are discovering even greater resource potential as we continue to explore our expansive country, particularly in our North, where we believe there is immense mineral and hydrocarbon wealth.
To further our knowledge of the North we have invested $100 million in geoscience to unlock the great potential of Canada’s North.
Canada has expertise in all areas of mining and is at the leading edge of technology and innovation in mine design, extraction, processing, mine closure and rehabilitation.
With the help of Canada’s stock exchanges, Canadian-listed companies are responsible for between one-third and one-half of all global equity raised for mineral development. Almost 60% of the world’s publicly listed mining companies list in Canada.
GLOBAL OUTLOOK AND REACH
In fact, Canadian companies account for 40% of the world’s exploration expenditures, a major portion driven by more than 1,400 entrepreneurial junior exploration companies.
As well, Canada is a leader in the world when it comes to corporate social responsibility — promoting responsible and sustainable mining practices.
Global investors want to be confident in where they’re investing. They want stability; they want control over their investment; they want favourable tax treatment and they don’t want surprises. That’s why they turn to Canada.
Thus, it’s no surprise then, that Forbes Magazine, just last month, announced Canada as the best place in the world to do business.
Canada and China have had a strong and enduring partnership since establishing formal diplomatic relations more than 40 years ago, in 1970.
After all, Canada and China have much in common already.
Chinese languages, as a group, are Canada's third most common mother tongue. Every large Canadian city has a vibrant Chinese community.
Trade between our two countries has tripled in the past decade.
And increasingly, students from China are coming to Canada to attend our universities — over 60,000 Chinese students last year.
As well, Canada was among the first to offer China assistance following the disastrous Sichuan earthquake in 2008. We felt your pain and we admired your dignity and resourcefulness.
I firmly believe that the long-standing good relations between China and Canada will continue to strengthen and continue to produce great benefits for both nations.
To all the nations here at the China Mining Congress and Expo, Canada looks forward to working with you as we build an even more prosperous future.
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