Headquartered in Toronto, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce has taken a good look at the mining industry and acknowledges that mining has taken its competitive advantage across several connected industries. Moreover, we must ensure that the factors that made Canada a global mining leader are strengthened.
Apparently, the message of mining's importance to Canada is reaching beyond the industry itself. The Chamber recognizes that the mineral industry is one of Canada's larger employers (more than 320,000 direct and indirect jobs), and that the core industry contributes considerably to this country's gross domestic product ($35.6 billion in 2011). The mining and mineral industries were responsible for over 20% of Canada's exports ($102 billion in 2011).
The position is examined in the Chamber's recent report, The World's Mining Capital: How Canada Transformed its Resources Endowment into a Global Competitive Advantage. (Downloadable at Chamber.ca.)
The 50-page report takes a close look at the importance of Toronto as the global capital of mining finance, British Columbia having the world's largest concentration of junior companies, and the 100+-year history of Sudbury as a mining centre. It goes on to chronicle how the Canadian mining industry is integrated into the global economy and is one of the few sectors where Canada has a strong external investment presence.
Following that are recommendations drawn from 15 leaders in the Canadian mining, financial, and professional services sectors. Together they outline the steps necessary for Canadian miners to maintain their global leadership.
"We have leveraged our metal and mineral endowment not just by extracting and processing raw material but also by creating and selling the knowledge of how to develop these resources. What we need now is to ensure that the factors that made us the global leader of the sector are strengthened," said Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Beatty said one of the dark clouds on the horizon for the mining sector is the growing skills crisis that is becoming a significant constraint on the industry. The Chamber also argues that governments are critical to the mining industry's success. New investments in both physical and intangible infrastructure are needed to exploit our resource endowments.