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Message to Mines Ministers: Take action to sustain Canadian mining sector

In concert with the release of their annual Facts and Figures 2009 publication providing details on the contribution of the sector to the Canadian economy, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) urged governments at the 66th annual Mines Ministers meeting to take action to sustain Canada’s mining industry.

While the impacts of the worldwide recession on the Canadian mining sector were very real, where operations in some 32 mines were closed/suspended over a half-year period and where companies are operating below capacity, the industry remains a significant contributor to the Canadian economy.

Facts and Figures 2009 underscores that importance - the sector contributed $40 billion to Canada’s GDP in 2008, employing 351,000 workers in mineral extraction, smelting, fabrication and manufacturing. While the industry is important in remote communities, it also generates prosperity in our larger cities. It is estimated that 3,140 suppliers provide equipment, consumables and expertise to the industry, including hundreds of manufacturing, engineering, geotechnical, environmental and financial firms. 

The mining industry is also an important contributor to government coffers. According to a recent study by ENTRANS Consultants, highlighted in Facts and Figures 2009, the industry paid a record-high $11.5 billion in taxes and royalties to F/P/T governments in 2008. While these payments will likely decline in 2009 as the effects of the recession are fully seen, it is now more than ever that Federal and Provincial Mines Ministers must work together to ensure long-term stability of this important sector.

It is critically important that Canada’s natural resource ministers maintain and enhance their dedication to economic development. In this sense, advocacy for infrastructure projects, for improved regulatory efficiency, for more open access to land, for northern development, and for tax incentives to encourage increased investment, among other objectives, remains fundamental to the mandate of natural resource ministers.

“Minerals and metals help build the products and infrastructure essential to modern life.  The mineral exploration and mining industry makes a significant annual contribution to the Canadian economy, including through payments to governments, and its output is fundamental to the emergence of clean energy technologies,” said Gordon Peeling, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. “The Canadian industry faces competitiveness challenges, both at the raw materials and value-added processing stage. By focusing on the priority areas, Canada’s Mines Ministers can contribute significantly to a stronger Canadian industry.”  

The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members are engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication.