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Notes for a Speech by
The Honourable Joe Oliver, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Natural Resources
China Mining Congress and Expo Ministers’ Forum
November 7, 2011
Check against delivery
Good morning everyone. It’s a great pleasure to be here.
I’m very pleased to have this opportunity to extend Canada’s goodwill to the citizens of the People’s Republic of China and to the international delegates attending the China Mining Congress and Expo 2011. This is truly a global showcase event for the mining sector.
As I did in the opening ceremony, I would like to once again extend a warm invitation to all of you to attend the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada event in Toronto next March.
Canada’s presence here is strong. Our relationship with China is based on friendship, mutual respect and cooperation. We have representatives attending from our provincial and territorial governments and from our major mining companies, who reflect the depth of our bilateral relationship.
Canada’s goal here in China is very simple — to promote two-way trade, commerce and investment — the pillars of economic and social development for all nations.
Canada has always been a trading nation. About one-in-five Canadian jobs are linked to international trade, and trade accounts for 60% of our annual GDP.
CANADA’S STATUS AS A LEADING ECONOMY
On the world stage, Canada has a strong record of economic leadership — an example, I believe, for the world to emulate.
Canada’s sound banking fundamentals and our continued commitment to trade and investment liberalization continue to support a remarkably resilient Canadian economy.
Just last month, the American business magazine Forbes said Canada is the best country in the world for business. The main reason given by Forbes is Canada’s low-tax advantage.
This tax advantage makes Canada a great place to invest and a great place to buy.
And we have everything that China and other nations need to meet their demands for domestic growth, including natural gas, oil, coal and minerals and metals of all kinds.
Stability and predictability underpin a sound and growing Canadian economy — nowhere is this more evident than in mining.
CANADA IS A GLOBAL MINING GIANT
Today, Canada is one of the largest mining nations in the world producing more than 60 minerals and metals.
We are the world’s number-one producer of potash.
We’re in the top five for the production of aluminum, cadmium, cobalt, diamonds, nickel, platinum-group metals, salt, titanium concentrate, tungsten and zinc.
The value of Canada’s mineral production in 2010 exceeded $41.2 billion and contributed $35.1 billion to Canada’s gross domestic product and $18 billion to our trade surplus.
Of course, all countries have been affected by the uncertainties in the global economy. But it’s important to recognize the mining sector has been resilient through the economic slowdown.
For example, mining nations like us need to keep in mind that to date, in 2011, the average price of most minerals and metals is higher than in 2010.
Gold, for example, has increased 23% this year, outperforming all other assets, including equities, bonds, cash and housing.
And looking ahead, the prices of most minerals and metals are expected to remain well above historical levels, in part due to strong demand in China and other emerging economies.
CANADA’S GLOBAL PRESENCE
Canadian mining companies are now located in more than 100 countries, involved in more than 10,000 projects, with assets outside of Canada worth over $109 billion in 2009.
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. In fact, almost 60% of the world’s publicly listed mining companies list in Canada.
CANADA’S OBJECTIVES IN CHINA
China Mining is Asia’s premier mining congress and one of the world’s top mining events.
Canada’s objectives here are simple and clear:
- raise Canada’s bilateral engagement with China;
- encourage and support bilateral investment, both Chinese investment in Canada and Canadian investments in China; and,
- promote cooperation in earth sciences and in mining research and innovation — thereby promoting strong links between the private sector and governments.
We can help China meet its growing economic needs while strengthening both of our economies — creating jobs and continued prosperity.
Canada has the international experience and expertise required to spur mining investment in China.
In turn, China must show support for such investment. If given a clear and predictable regulatory environment, Canadian companies can provide leading technologies, engineering and services to help China develop its resources in a competitive and environmentally responsible way.
INVESTING IN CANADIAN MINING
Investment is a two-way street. It’s about mutual confidence, stability and reliability.
Canada’s rules and regulations are transparent and are applied in a non-discriminatory fashion to both domestic and foreign companies alike.
For example, we are improving our regulatory system for major projects to move toward a streamlined one-project, one-review approach.
As well, Canada’s tax regimes for mining are some of the most competitive in the world.
Next year, Canada’s federal corporate income tax rate will drop to 15% — the lowest corporate income tax rate in the G7.
Moreover, Canada has expertise in all areas of mining: exploration, geophysics, geology, geochemistry, remote sensing, drilling, laboratories, engineering, environmental management, logistical support finance, investment analysis and legal services.
Canada’s resource sectors are supported by a world-class transportation system — road, rail, air, shipping and pipeline. And our new Pacific Gateway will further enhance this integrated system.
Approximately $500 billion of investment in major mining and energy projects in Canada is forecast over the next decade.
The Government of Canada has invested 100 million dollars in Geoscience through our Geomapping for Energy and Minerals program.
We are discovering even greater potential as we continue to explore our expansive country, particularly in our North, where there is great mineral and hydrocarbon potential.
Canada also has the world’s largest potash deposits, accounting for more than 60% of the global total.
Other areas of Canada hold prospects for many other minerals such as nickel, iron ore, coal, gold and diamonds. Officials are here in China from nearly every province and territory.
I encourage you to meet them and discuss investment opportunities.
INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGY, GREEN MINING AND CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
However, to maintain Canada’s global leadership in mining, we must continue to innovate.
Through R&D and advancements in technology Canada will continue to sharpen its competitive edge.
We’re bringing green mining innovation to every stage of the mining process, so mining will leave behind only clean water, rehabilitated landscapes and healthy ecosystems.
Canadian mining companies also have a unique opportunity for global leadership in advancing responsible development through Canada’s promotion and support of corporate social responsibility.
I strongly believe that the future global success of the mining sector will depend on its ability to meet these high principles.
This is why the Prime Minister recently announced the creation of the Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development to complement our comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility strategy.
The outcome will be a more competitive mining industry, one that’s able to live up to society’s expectations related to social and environmental performance.
CANADA AND CHINA — CONCLUSION
In closing, I wish to say that the exploration and mineral investment climate in Canada is strongly positive and will continue to attract significant foreign and Canadian investment.
The Government of Canada wants Canada’s mining sector to create wealth and jobs by serving the growing global demand for minerals and metals.
Our main message worldwide is that Canada is a safe, responsible and reliable supplier of energy and mineral and metal resources.
And when it comes to our relationship with China, our two countries have had a strong, enduring partnership since we established formal diplomatic relations more than 40 years ago, in 1970.
Canada greatly values its friendship with China.
We have much to offer each other in terms of science, people and investment. And our focus in China is on strengthening current partnerships and creating new ones.
I look forward to a very productive event here this week.
Enjoy the China Mining Congress and Expo.
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