Paul Stothart is vice president, economic affairs of the Mining Association of Canada. He is responsible for advancing the industry’s interests regarding federal tax, trade, investment, transport and energy issues. This article was published in April, 2011.
It is unlikely that any sector in Canada has undergone a transition in recent decades comparable to that seen within the mining industry.
The mining sector in the 1980s and 1990s was an afterthought. Mineral prices worldwide were in the dumps. Exploration and prospecting, in effect a form of R&D aimed at finding tomorrow’s stream of commodities, was neglected and the amounts invested were piddling. Attention to attracting new talent to the industry was minimal.
University mining programs closed. The sector was shunned by Canadian politicians and policymakers as old-school, dark and dirty, and non-technological. Economists and financiers held similar views. Even the leading companies such as Inco and Noranda were viewed as complacent and staid despite being world-leaders in many respects.
The contrast with Canada’s shining beacons of the day was stark. Continue Reading →