Montreal, September 17, 2010 — Federal, provincial and territorial mines ministers concluded their annual two-day meeting today in Montreal. The meeting, which centred on innovation and other topics, was co-chaired by federal Natural Resources Minister, the Honourable Christian Paradis, and Quebec’s Minister for Natural Resources and Wildlife, Serge Simard.
“The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the mining sector creates jobs, remains competitive and is socially and environmentally responsible,” said Minister Paradis. “These discussions will foster important results, leading to innovative solutions, such as green mining technology – innovation that will continue to put Canada at the forefront of mining activities internationally.”
The ministers noted that, over the past year, all jurisdictions have made significant strides to improve regulatory review processes, and they agreed that further improvements are required to support long-term growth and job creation. The ministers reaffirmed their support for a one-project/one-assessment approach for the environmental assessment process. Provincial and territorial ministers recognized the progress of the federal government towards this goal and encouraged further development.
During the meeting, the ministers acknowledged the importance of innovation in meeting global challenges and in maintaining and enhancing the competitiveness of the mining sector. The ministers focused specifically on the economic, environmental and social performance of the Canadian mining industry, and the need to address the decline in base metals reserves in Canada.
Minister Serge Simard expressed satisfaction with the progress of work and the outcome of discussions. “Whether it be with respect to technology, environment or social responsibility, mineral development is entering into a new era of innovation,” he said. “By working with the mining industry, we are ensuring that we remain a world leader in this sector and, above all, that the sector remains a source of wealth and pride for all.”
The ministers discussed the Mining Sector Performance Report 1998-2008, which highlights the important role mining plays for communities and the economy of Canada. The report revealed that over the past decade the industry’s environmental and social performance has seen a marked improvement, yet at the same time is being challenged to meet the ever-increasing expectations of society. The ministers agreed to release the report and made a commitment to support ongoing performance reporting every three years.
The ministers also reviewed the progress that has been achieved on the Green Mining Initiative that they endorsed at EMMC 2009. The goal of this pan-Canadian initiative is to improve the mining sector’s environmental performance while, at the same time, ensuring its international competitiveness by supporting the development and demonstration of innovative green technologies and processes.
The ministers also agreed to release the Compendium of government-funded green mining research and innovation programs and activities across Canada.
The mines ministers also discussed the importance of addressing the decline in base metal reserves in Canada. A key component of the economy, the mining of base metals creates a significant number of direct and indirect jobs in the provinces and territories. The ministers affirmed the importance of sustaining a vibrant minerals and metals value chain in Canada and tasked officials to develop options for addressing the core challenges impacting Canada’s base metals industry — options that ministers will discuss at EMMC 2011.
The ministers also thanked the participants of the Mines Forum, which took place on September 16. The Mines Forum discussion identified some of the important challenges and opportunities of the future, and noted the critical importance that ongoing innovations will play in the sustained competitiveness of the sector.
The Government of Alberta looks forward to hosting the next annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference in Kananaskis.
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