FEDERAL BUDGET: Mining sector behind fiscal plan

OTTAWA, TORONTO and VANCOUVER – Last week’s federal budget, brought down by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in the House of Commons on March 29, 2012, generally has the support of the mining sector. Industry associations were quick to...

OTTAWA, TORONTO and VANCOUVER – Last week’s federal budget, brought down by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in the House of Commons on March 29, 2012, generally has the support of the mining sector. Industry associations were quick to give their approval, beginning with the Mining Association of Canada.

“[The] budget will help expedite over $140 billion in new investment in Canada's mining sector," stated MAC president and CEO Pierre Gratton. "Canada is in global competition for mining investment and an effective and efficient regulatory regime can provide a competitive advantage over other jurisdictions. Legislative reforms announced … promise to modernize Canada's environmental review and permitting processes.”

Streamlining the environmental review process will boost Canadian competitiveness on the world stage by shortening the time it takes to gain approval. The federal government can now accept a comparable provincial assessment as its own, eliminating the duplication that adds to costs and delays. New fixed timelines for project reviews and assessments were unveiled, as was a commitment to a consistent and co-ordinated approach to Aboriginal consultation as a part of project reviews.

The only downside to the budget, the MAC pointed out, is that the gradual elimination of the Mineral Exploration and Development Tax Credit (METC).

On the other hand, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada is pleased that the METC has been extended an additional year until March 31, 2013. It had originally been scheduled for elimination on March 31, 2012.

Despite that, PDAC executive director Ross Gallinger said, "We believe this is a budget that demonstrates continued support for the mineral exploration sector.”

The PDAC also noted the government’s plan to set aside $400 million to help increase private sector investment in early-stage risk capital and to support the creation of large scale venture capital funds led by the private sector.

On the west coast, the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia commended the federal government’s fiscally disciplined budget and thanked the government for extending the METC.

Gavin C. Dirom, AME BC president and CEO, said, “While we are pleased by [the] announcement, we encourage the federal government to simply make the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit permanent. Making it permanent would send an even stronger and clearer signal to investors that the federal government encourages continued investment in Canada’s mineral exploration sector.”

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