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Canada’s mining industry strong, but challenges ahead

April 17, 2013

MAC’s Pierre Gratton highlights mining industry’s needs to remain
competitive

MONTREAL, April 17, 2013 /CNW/ – In a keynote address to the Montreal
Council on Foreign Relations, Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the
Mining Association of Canada (MAC), stressed the importance of keeping
Canada’s mining industry competitive for the benefit of both Quebec and
Canada at large.

“Canada is currently a global mining powerhouse and its economic
contributions reach far beyond the mine gate and the communities where
we operate by providing high-paying jobs and spinoff business
opportunities across the country,” said Gratton. “However, our current
leadership status should not be taken for granted as mining investment
dollars are highly mobile and global competition for it is fierce.”

As the third largest mining region in Canada, Quebec has been an
important part of this growth, but the province has recently lost
ground in relative terms. Gratton noted that Quebec doubled the value
of its mineral production over the past decade, but other provinces
like British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland and Labrador have
tripled, quadrupled and even sextupled the value of mineral production
over the same period.

“I am concerned that mining growth in Quebec may fall off significantly
due to the present policy direction of the government,” said Gratton in
relation to the expected tabling of new mining tax legislation by the
Quebec government that could see high royalties and taxes placed on
mining companies operating in the province. “Quebec should be aiming to
maintain its status as a sophisticated mining jurisdiction, one that
understands that tax instability and higher royalties will drive away
investment, economic development and employment.”

By many accounts, Canada is one of the largest mining countries in the
world. For example, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and the TSX
Venture Exchange are home to 58 per cent of the world’s public mining
companies. Canada is a top five producer of uranium, potash, nickel,
platinum, aluminum, diamonds, zinc and steel-making coal. Moreover, our
nation’s reputation for being rich in resources led to Canada landing
the top spot for attracting world exploration spending in 2011 at 18
per cent.

Canada’s mineral production in the last two years surged to new heights.
In 2011, mineral production value reached a record $50.3 billion. It
declined in 2012 to $46.9 billion due to some softening in the
commodity market, but this figure essentially represents a return to
the previous peak set in 2008.

From a Canada-wide perspective, a largely positive outlook for mineral
and metal prices over the long term supported by China and other
emerging markets underscores the opportunities before Canada. However,
for Canada to be able to seize these opportunities, it must remain
competitive.

In his speech, Gratton stated that Canada must work to keep its
competitiveness by:

        --  Maintaining low inflation, reducing debts, and preserving and
            improving competitive tax levels.
        --  Staying the course as a free trader and proactively engaging
            the emerging markets, especially China.
        --  Improving the regulatory framework for mining projects, while
            keeping environmental protection a top priority.
        --  Addressing the looming skills crisis in the mining sector,
            which is estimated at requiring 145,000 new workers over the
            next decade to replace retirees and fill new positions.
        --  Investing in critical infrastructure to support new mining
            projects, including key transportation needs such as ports,
            all-weather roads and rail.

“To maintain our leadership, we also have to remain leaders in
responsible mining and act in a way that Canadians have confidence in.
If we keep doing things right with our wealth of resources, Canadians
will continue to thrive through the development and production of new
mines here in Canada, the continued growth of our industry abroad, and
the numerous spinoff economic and social benefits that flow from both,”
said Gratton.

For a copy of Pierre Gratton’s speech, please visit www.mining.ca.

About MAC
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, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are
actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and
semi-fabrication. Please visit www.mining.ca.

SOURCE Mining Association of Canada (MAC)


Source: PR Newswire