2016 Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference

BACKGROUNDER – Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference 2016 – Mining

Canada's  exploration, mining and mineral processing industry is an important contributor  to the economic and social well-being of communities across the country. In  2015, the minerals sector directly and indirectly accounted for 563,000 jobs  throughout the country in urban, rural and remote regions, including employing  over 10,000 Indigenous people. From 2010 to 2014, Canada's minerals sector, on  average, provided a total of $2.9 billion per year in taxes and royalties to  governments that in turn are used to support public  services from health care to education. Canada is the  world's number one destination for global mining and exploration financing  activity, where 52 percent of public mining and exploration companies are listed  on the Toronto Stock Exchange/Venture Exchange and almost $7 billion in equity  capital was raised in 2015.

Key issues discussed by mines ministers included  mining sector performance, innovation and green mining technologies, public  confidence in mining projects and support for mineral exploration and junior  mining companies. The ministers also acknowledged the recommendations submitted  by the Canadian Mineral Industry Federation, which included: financing  mechanisms to support grassroots mineral exploration; coordinated regulatory  reviews that have the confidence of Canadians; enhancing Indigenous  participation in the mineral industry and clarifying Duty to Consult  requirements; addressing the costs of operating in remote and northern regions;  and supporting climate change innovation and clean technology within the  minerals sector.

Canada's Mining Sector Performance Report

The ministers  released the 2016 edition of the Mining Sector Performance Report,  which provides a snapshot of the Canadian mineral industry's economic, social  and environmental performance from 2006–2015, highlighting areas of improvement  and growth as well as areas where progress is still required. The aim of the  report is to provide Canadians with an understanding of the industry's  performance based on credible and  reliable data.  The report assesses the performance of Canada's mineral industry through 25  different indicators and was developed in consultation with provincial and  territorial governments, industry, academia and Indigenous organizations.

The  ministers discussed how understanding the social landscape of the mining sector  is vital to ensuring that best  practices and policies reflect the values of Canadians, while recognizing that  enhancing environmental performance is one of the most important challenges  facing the sector to ensure that Canada's mineral resources are developed sustainably. The  report also highlights the mineral industry's significant contribution to  Canada's economic growth and prosperity.

Innovation in the Mining Industry

Mines ministers discussed how to support innovation  in Canada's mining sector with a focus on strengthening collaboration, aligning  and increasing engagement between key innovation stakeholders and encouraging  the sharing of innovation best practices between jurisdictions. The ministers  also reflected on the need to facilitate communication to reduce fragmentation of  mining innovation initiatives and enhance opportunities for green mining  technology development, deployment and commercialization.

The ministers emphasized  how a focus on innovation is crucial to sustaining the socio-economic  contribution of Canada's exploration and mining sector while ensuring  environmental stewardship and the sustainable development of our natural  resources. The development of a clear vision for the role of green mining  technology among governments and industry will ensure that Canada remains at a  competitive advantage while enhancing its productivity and environmental  performance.

Enhancing  Public Confidence in Canada's Minerals Sector

The ministers released the Public Confidence along the Mineral  Development Cycleinfographic to identify opportunities to build  public confidence throughout the life cycle of a project and the Compendium of Case Studies on Building Public  Confidence in the Mineral and Energy Resource Sectors. These  documents highlight positive approaches to building public confidence in  Canada's resource sectors that have been implemented by governments, regulatory  authorities and industry in collaboration with communities across Canada. The  ministers also heard the findings of a National Workshop on Public Confidence  held on June 9, 2016, where a range of stakeholders and Indigenous peoples  identified four key themes as opportunities to influence public confidence:  regulation and legislation; science and innovation; evidence-based  communication and transparency; and engagement and collaboration.

The ministers emphasized  the need to strengthen public confidence in the way major resource projects are  assessed and reviewed, ensuring that regulatory decisions are based on science  and evidence and that Indigenous peoples, as well as local communities, are  full partners in the environmental assessment and regulatory process. The mines  ministers committed to working together to find the best ways to protect our  environment and grow our economy in order to ensure a clean, sustainable future  for all Canadians and generations to come.

The ministers committed to  continue work over the next year on a detailed analysis of best practices for  reclamation security and environmental liability, including expanding the  review to select other major mining countries, with the goal of achieving best  practices and global leadership for mine security, reclamation and  environmental protection.

Continued Support for Junior Mining

The mines ministers  recognized the important role Canada's junior exploration companies play in supporting  the future prosperity of the country's mineral industry and noted the  operational challenges that continue to impact these companies. To bolster  mineral exploration and development, and to support Canada's future mineral  production, the ministers committed to seeking out opportunities for collaboration  to enhance mineral geoscience programs across jurisdictions and to expand the availability of public geoscience data to help  facilitate grassroots exploration by junior mining companies.

-  30 -


Alexandre Deslongchamps
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Natural Resources

Media Relations
Natural Resources Canada

Follow us on Twitter: @NRCan (http://twitter.com/nrcan)
NRCan's  news releases and backgrounders are available at www.nrcan.gc.ca/media

John B. Thorpe
Communications  Coordinator
Communications  Services Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba

Follow  Manitoba government on Twitter: @MBGovNews (http://twitter.com/MBGovNews)