The 64th annual meeting of federal, provincial and territorial MINES MINISTERS took place in Whistler, B.C., this week. It was little reported in Canadas national newspapers, but the confab had the distinction of again examining an industry that is at the top of its game. Nearly every commodity is setting new price highs. There is more work for miners than there are miners. Companies in the mining and metals industries are posting record profits.
A press release from NATURAL RESOURCES CANADA noted, The minerals and metals industry contributed some $40 billion to Canadas GDP and 369,000 jobs for Canadians in 2006. The mining sector is expected to continue its positive economic performance with estimates that exploration expenditures in Canada could reach $2.5 billion in 2007, up 33% from the previous year.
With so much optimism, the conference participants may have indulged in a little back-slapping and wide grins. The need now is to implement policies that will sustain the industry. The MINING ASSOCIATION OF CANADA (MAC) had a few suggestions:
TAXES – Once again taxes headed the list of concerns that must be addressed. MAC wants to see federal corporate tax rates reduced and measures taken to further encourage exploration.
PROJECT REVIEW – Ministers at all levels of government must quickly establish an effective project review office as outlined in the 2007 federal budget. MAC believes this will further streamline the regulatory process for new projects.
GEOLOGICAL INITIATIVES – MAC wants a funding commitment of $25 million per year for the Canadian Geological Mapping Strategy program, a partnership of the three senior levels of government.
CLEAN AIR – Clean air goals must be established with achievable targets, those that are based on sound benchmarks and set in accordance with ambient air quality objectives, says MAC.
In practice various governments may not adopt policies exactly in line with MACs suggestions, but the important first step has been taken. The mines ministers understand the concerns of the mining industry, and they are prepared to implement these policies.
All are important goals, but one of them appears to be closer to fulfilment. The CANADA REVENUE AGENCY has issued new, broader guidelines for eligible flow-through exploration expenses (see below).
MAC took the opportunity at the ministers conference to release its latest edition of Mining Facts & Figures. It may be read online at www.Mining.ca.