Canada’s mining industry has a prosperous future, with the benefits of the mining sector reaching past the mine gate and into the commu- nities in which it operates, says Mining Association of Canada president and CEO Pierre Gratton.
Delivering his speech during National Mining Week, in Canada, in May, he described the Canadian mining industry as a powerhouse, citing a recent study by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, which showed beyond doubt that the sector “beats in the heart of our cities and in our financial sector”.
The Canadian mining sector, comprising 220 operating mines, 33 smelters and refineries and 320 000 employees, pays the highest average wage in Canada. In 2012, mining contributed $9-billion in taxes and royalties to governments, accounting for about $20-billion in yearly capital investment.
“Canada is a top-five world producer of uranium, potash, nickel, platinum, aluminium, diamonds, zinc, and steelmaking coal. Minerals account for 23% of the country’s total goods exports. It also attracted 18% of world exploration spending in 2011, which was the top achievement,” he states.
Gratton says it is the depth and breadth of the mining industry that enabled Canada to withstand the recent economic turmoil better than any other Group of Eight country. “The past two decades have been marked by two major developments that are collectively shaping a new age – globalisation and the rise of Asia, particularly China.
“Globalisation has opened up new markets across Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The mining sector flocked to these jurisdictions to pursue largely untapped and unexplored geology and, in many cases, lower costs,” says Gratton.
He adds that capital is now more mobile than ever, also owing to globalisation.
“Meanwhile, in 26 years, China’s growth has increased by a factor of ten and it is currently also the world’s largest exporter and second-largest importer of goods.
“The country has also developed an insatiable appetite for commodities to fuel rapid industrialisation and a rising consumer class,” he states.
Mining Super Cycle
The combination of globalisation and Chinese growth led to the mining super cycle, which has presented opportunities and challenges for the mining industry, says Gratton.
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