Increasing Demand for Critical Minerals Positions Canada’s Mining Industry for Success

January 24, 2020

New Canada-US Collaboration and Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan Bring Renewed Attention to Mining Sector

Today, Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), in his annual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, spoke of the state of Canada’s mining industry and how recent commitments to mining, particularly the new Canada-US Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration and the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (CMMP), show great promise for Canada’s mining sector.

“The United States is looking to Canada to be a supplier of critical minerals, essential to new, advanced technologies in major sectors of the North American economy, and the Government of Canada, as expressed in Prime Minister Trudeau’s most recent Mandate Letters to his Cabinet, is committed to meet US demands,” said Gratton. “Richly endowed with natural resources and with a globally leading mining sector committed to responsible mineral development, Canada is uniquely positioned to supply the US with critical minerals, representing a significant opportunity for new investment and growth in mining and mineral processing.”

Canada ranks among the top five countries in the global production of 15 minerals and metals. The new Canada-US Joint Action Plan will improve collaboration to ensure the responsible sourcing of the critical minerals that are essential to many different sectors, including clean technology and defense. In addition to the Canada-US Joint Action Plan, the CMMP, a federal-provincial initiative which includes measures that aim to enhance the sector’s competitiveness, stimulate innovation, advance the participation of Indigenous communities and promote Canada’s role as a global leader in the mining sector, also provides a vision that will position the industry for success in the years to come. 

“Critical minerals are more than rare earth elements, and include several minerals and metals already mined in Canada, including cobalt, copper, precious metals, nickel, and uranium, which are critical to low carbon electrification and new battery technologies in the automotive, space, defense, and high-tech sectors,” continued Gratton. “It’s time to be ambitious. We have an opportunity to lay the foundation for a new era in investment and middle-class job creation, not just in mining but in new, emerging downstream industrial and manufacturing sectors.”

Canada’s mining sector has long been a global leader in responsible mining practices. MAC’s Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) program has emerged as a standard with significant international presence, adopted by mining associations in seven countries on five continents in the past five years. TSM focuses on enabling mining companies to meet society’s needs for minerals, metals, and energy products in the most socially, economically, and environmentally responsible way through mandatory commitments to annually report and assure social and environmental performance with strong multi-stakeholder oversight.

“Looking forward, the opportunity for responsible growth is significant. And the obligation to grow responsibly has never been clearer,” continued Gratton. “Canadian metals come conflict free, mined meeting the highest environmental standards and a commitment to transparency unmatched anywhere. We are confident that with these sustainable standards and new government commitments, Canada’s mining industry has the tools and support to provide the responsibly sourced minerals vital to industries around the world.”

The mining industry is a major sector of Canada’s economy, contributing $97 billion to national GDP and responsible for 19 percent of Canada’s total domestic exports. Canada’s mining sector employs 626,000 people directly and indirectly across the country. The industry is proportionally the largest private sector employer of Indigenous peoples in Canada and a major customer of Indigenous-owned businesses.

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