Yesterday, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) released its annual Facts & Figures report, a comprehensive overview of current trends, including updated statistics and analysis, in Canada’s mining sector. This year’s report highlights how the mining industry is responding to challenges stemming from the ongoing pandemic, including investment competitiveness, supply chain issues and labour market shortages, and areas of opportunity, particularly in the critical minerals space.
“As the supplier of the materials required for the manufacture of products essential for Canadians, it has been critical that supply chains stay open so that mined products are readily available for the people and businesses who rely on them,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s President and CEO. “With minerals and metals being required inputs for healthcare, low-carbon and communications technologies, there is no doubt that the mining industry continues to play an essential role in contributing to Canada’s economic strength and has significant potential to supply the materials needed to address our climate change priorities.”
Given that mines supply the materials, including critical minerals, needed to build clean technologies, like wind, solar, nuclear energy and EV batteries, it is important that Canada’s mining industry be supported by effective policy and regulation in order to be the supplier the world needs. Canadians are interested in stronger public policy in this area with a recent survey conducted by Clean Energy Canada and Abacus Data finding that 78% believe Canada should prioritize competitiveness in responsibly produced minerals and metals.
“Canada has some of the lowest carbon intensity mineral and metal products anywhere in the world and can and should play a much more significant role in providing the materials the world needs to get to net-zero.” continued Gratton. “In fact, SKARN Associates, a consultancy focused on connecting Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) analytics and mineral economics, identified Canada’s mining industry as yielding a lower supply-chain carbon-intensity finished product than most alternative raw material sources globally.”
Critical to bolstering the industry’s domestic and international leadership is a predictable and consistent domestic policy and regulatory environment to position the country for longer term success. This is particularly important now more than ever with increasing geopolitical tensions magnifying the precariousness of existing sources of critical materials.
“Canada has long been the dominant global mining nation—in mineral production, mining finance, mining services and supplies, and sustainability and safety but there are signs that this position is slipping, which has the potential to jeopardize Canada’s ability to seize new opportunities for growth,” said Gratton. “While 2020 saw a modest increase in the value of mining projects planned and under construction from 2020 to 2030 (by $2 billion year-over-year), the total 10-year projected value ($82 billion) remains nearly 50% below the 2014 level of $160 billion, so there is certainly room to improve our standing.”
With the federal budget expected in a matter of weeks, the government has the opportunity to position the mining sector, and all those industries that rely upon its products, for greater success as Canada’s ability to provide the resources necessary for a lower carbon future requires strategic policy support. While the introduction of the “mines to mobility” approach to developing Canada’s battery supply chain and the subsequent inclusion of a domestic EV battery supply chain as a pillar under the Strategic Innovation Fund’s net-zero accelerator are encouraging, more can be done to truly seize the opportunity to play a leadership role in being the preferred supplier of mined materials.
For more information on MAC’s Facts & Figures report, please visit: https://mining.ca/resources/reports/facts-figures-2021.
The mining industry is a major sector of Canada’s economy, contributing $107 billion to the national GDP and is responsible for 19 percent of Canada’s total domestic exports. Canada’s mining sector employs 692,000 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.
The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada’s production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal and mined oil sands, and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit www.mining.ca.