Canadian Election Overshadows Successful Mines Ministers’ Meeting – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s call for a federal election on Oct. 14 was hardly a surprise. His Conservative party began running election-style ads at the beginning of September. Now, with the nation’s eyes and ears alert to campaign promises and mud-slinging, the recent meeting of Canada’s mines ministers has been largely overlooked.

Energy and mine ministers from the federal, provincial and territorial governments met in Saskatoon Sept. 7-9. On the agenda were issues related to the industry’s social licence.

“Key to our discussions was the recognition that the mining and industry sectors along with governments need to encourage and engage Aboriginal peoples and communities in a manner that is inclusive, transparent and characterized by mutual respect,” host and Saskatchewan Energy and Resources Minister Bill Boyd said in the warp-up press release.

The ministers recognized that the long-term prosperity of the mining and
energy sectors depends on addressing labour shortages and working with industry and other partners to address these issues on a priority and ongoing basis.

The ministers underscored the importance of continued collaboration between regulatory agencies to ensure high-quality and timely environmental assessments to promote sustainability. They also noted the importance of increasing collaboration on research and innovation with industry, governments and academic institutions to support industry competitiveness.

Finally, ministers discussed the importance of Canadian companies working to secure a social license for mineral development, at home and abroad, by building their capacity to meet the social, economic and environmental expectations of their host communities.

Seems the press release is using all the right words when it comes to creating a responsible and growing mining industry. But they are only words.

In the excitement of the coming federal election, watch for candidates to promise cash and policy support for mining. I’ll bet you won’t find much. If you do, drop me a line, MScales@CanadianMiningJournal.com.

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