This is the week that the annual PROSPECTORS & DEVELOPERS ASSOCIATION OF CANADA gets together to look at mineral developments around the world. What they are finding is easy access to money and lots of promising places to spend it.
Prices for commodities remain high across the board. If you are a prospective producer of gold, uranium, copper, zinc, potash and many more commodities, prices are high, and they show little inclination to fall. That means investors are eager to back many exploration plays.
Riding along on the wave of buoyant optimism, the new Minister of NATURAL RESOURCES the Hon. Gary Lunn of British Columbia, gave his first major address to the mining industry. “As a former construction superintendent in the mining industry, I have some knowledgelimited knowledgeof the industry and great appreciation for the vital role exploration and mining play in the wellbeing of Canadian communities,” he said. “My goal is to ensure that as many Canadians as possible enjoy the benefits that responsible mining and exploration can provide.”
There were no major policy shifts in Lunn’s speech. He addressed several areas of concern, promising to support the mining industry.
COMPETITIVENESS: “For industry the challenge is straightforward: discover new resources, and develop existing resources in an efficient, environmentally sound manner in time to meet worldwide demand. For government, the challenge is to help strengthen Canada’s competitiveness through improved productivity, market access and access to public geoscience, lower costs and an attractive investment climate.”
REGULATORY PROCESS: “For Canada to continue to be a magnet for investment, our regulatory system needs to be streamlined. I’ve instructed my department officials to do this and they have engaged their provincial and territorial counterparts and other Government of Canada departments to see how we can move forward on this important issue.”
TAX INCENTIVES: “I am also examining the rationale for continued support for favourable tax treatment of exploration incentives such as the former Investment Tax Credit for Exploration.”
TRAINING: “Another challenge we face is a looming labour shortage caused by our aging workforce and lack of interest among Canadians in a mining career. To realize our hopes for the mining and exploration industries, we need to ensure that the next generation of geologists, mining technicians, and engineers are trained and available when they are needed. We must also better recognize the qualifications of immigrants and temporary workers who are ready to help discover and build the mines of the future.”
TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION: “We are already collaborating on projects under the Targeted Geoscience Initiative in support of existing mining communities. I fully endorse the need to continue this work in geoscience.”
Lunn appears to be very tuned in to the mineral industry. Take him up on his offer to meet with the industry and learn how mining and government can work together. His office phone is 613-996-2007 or send e-mail to Gary.Lunn@nrcan-rncan.gc.ca.