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COMMENT: MAC applauds the Canadian government for new trade agreements in Africa

TORONTO – The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) commends the federal government on the signing of two new Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPAs) with Zambia and Cameroon. The announcement was made on March 4 by...


TORONTO – The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) commends the federal government on the signing of two new Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPAs) with Zambia and Cameroon. The announcement was made on March 4 by the Hon. Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, at the 2013 Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto.

“Given the global nature of our sector, the Canadian mining industry is highly supportive of the formation of new trade agreements,” said MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton. “Today’s announced FIPAs with Zambia and Cameroon are strategic, and help ensure that Canadian mining investment is supported and protected in these important emerging markets where great opportunities for responsible mining growth exist.”

Africa is a significant destination for mining capturing 15% of global exploration investment in 2011, according to Metals Economics Group. In the same year, the TSX and TSX Venture exchanges accounted for more than $1 billion in capital raised for African mining projects in over 35 countries on the continent.

According to Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, in 2011, Canadian mining assets in Cameroon were valued at more than $35 million, while Zambia’s mining assets were worth in excess of $6 billion. “Zambia and Cameroon have significant potential to improve their wealth through sustainable development of the mining industry, and the conclusion of these agreements is an important step forward to support that direction,” said Gratton.

Gratton notes that Canada’s mining industry is responsible for 10% of Canadian Direct Investment Abroad (CDIA). Mining CDIA contributes directly to job creation, Canada’s mining services sector – the second largest in the world – and to Canada’s global leadership in mining.

Foreign investment protection mechanisms under FIPAs, including access to international arbitration, are relevant in the event of investment disputes. They also provide companies that are making long term investments with an added layer of confidence. For these and other benefits accompanying freer trade, MAC encourages the federal government to continue with its active trade agenda, through negotiating and, where possible, finalizing other FIPAs and free trade agreements.

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