Canada: Canadian Government Unveils Strategic Canadian Minerals And Metals Plan

Last Updated: September 13 2019
Article by Eric Lung

On March 3, 2019, the Canadian federal, provincial and territorial governments (other than Ontario and Saskatchewan) collectively unveiled the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan (the "CMMP"), a forward-looking and generational strategic initiative for the Canadian mining industry intended to "support industry competitiveness, solidify Canada's position as a global mining leader and to lay the foundation for lasting success at home and abroad."1

The CMMP was authored jointly by mining ministers across the country. The project involved discussions with a diverse group of stakeholders with the benefit of input from and engagement with Indigenous Peoples, the private sector, local governments, non-governmental organizations (including environmental and labour organizations) and various other stakeholders and partners of the Canadian mining industry. The CMMP recognizes that responsibility over resource ownership and management in Canada, as well as the regulation of mining activities that fall under the jurisdiction of provinces and territories. The CMMP is not intended to "supplant" these efforts; instead, the CMMP is intended to create synergies and support existing provincial and territorial objectives to address systematic challenges and realize on opportunities existing in the Canadian mining industry.

The CMMP envisions Canada as the "leading mining nation" in the world, which is home to a "competitive, sustainable and responsible mining industry that benefits all Canadians".2 As part of this vision, the CMMP sees Canada being a global leader in various aspects with a focus on outlining opportunities for growth and development.

To support the achievement of its visionary goals, the CMMP establishes six strategic directions. The following table provides a summary of each of the six strategic directions, the intended end-result and the areas of action identified in the CMMP to support the strategic direction:

Strategic Direction

Strategic Result

Areas of Action

Economic Development and Competitiveness

The CMMP aims for Canada to become the world's most competitive and attractive jurisdiction for investment capital in the minerals and mining sector

  • Review and adjust Canada's tax policies and regulations with the view of supporting cost competitiveness and bringing in investment capital
  • Increase regulatory certainty through harmonization of existing regulations across Canadian jurisdictions and development of tools to assist stakeholders of the mining industry to navigate and understand existing regulations
  • Increase government funding for geoscience
  • Continued focus on settling lands claims as part of the reconciliation process with Indigenous Peoples
  • Consider allocating additional resources to take advantage of the mineral potential of Northern Canada

Advancing the Participation of Indigenous Peoples

The CMMP strives to increase economic opportunities for Indigenous Peoples and to support the reconciliation process

  • Ensure Aboriginal and treaty rights continue to be respected
  • Pursue meaningful engagement on potential projects in a culturally sensitive manner
  • Work with Indigenous communities to enhance resources to support Indigenous Peoples' participation in the mining industry, in particular Indigenous women
  • Work with Indigenous communities to explore economic benefit sharing in the minerals sector, including exploring Indigenous procurement plans and supplier networks

Environment

The CMMP envisions Canada being a leader in building public trust, developing low-footprint mines and mine closure management

  • Provide support for research & development focused on reducing the consumption of water and energy, and the production of waste rock, in mining
  • Accelerate efforts to develop and adopt clean energy sources
  • Study Canada's recycling and reprocessing capacity to support a sustainable and competitive circular economy
  • Encourage the mining industry to plan for and adopt measures to deal with climate change

Science, Technology and Innovation

Canada's mining industry is supported by world-leading science and technology that impacts all stages of the mineral development cycle

  • Develop a more effective ecosystem for mining-related innovation, including increase funding for research and innovation targeting the minerals and metals industry and accelerating the research and deployment of digital disruptive technologies
  • Create incentives for the adoption of clean technologies and innovation practices
  • Support the development of next generation geoscience technology and programming
  • Increase collaboration with mining and other industries to advance mutually beneficial technology development and adoption (e.g., extreme climates, deep mining, offshore, space)

Communities

Canadian communities welcome sustainable mineral development activities and the resulting positive impacts

  • Consider means to formally engage with local communities at the early stages of project development
  • Conduct an information campaign that highlights Canada's sustainable and high-technology minerals industry
  • Increase the diversity of the Canadian mining labour force to include more Indigenous Peoples, women and immigrants

Global Leadership

The CMMP hopes to achieve a  "sharpened competitive edge" for Canada and enhancing Canada's position as a global leader

  • Work collaboratively with mining industry participants and other partners to establish a Canadian mining brand
  • Establish a minerals trade and investment office to support increased minerals trade and investment
  • Develop a "responsible business conduct" strategy for mining which further advances Canada's position as a global leader
  • Develop programs to support Canadian companies in the mining supply and services sector to export their expertise and penetrate global markets

It is anticipated that the first in a series of "Action Plans" to operationalize and support the CMMP will be released by the Canadian government in 2020, which will include "near-term actions supported by current data, rigorous research and analysis and input from stakeholders and partners".3

One point of note with respect to the CMMP is that, as of the date of this publication, the provinces of Ontario and Saskatchewan have declined to endorse the plan, citing that the plan inadequately addresses certain challenges faced by the Canadian mining industry, including increasing energy costs, barriers to international trade, the federal cap-and-trade carbon tax and the federal government's bill (Bill C-69) to overhaul environmental assessments of large resource projects. 

1 Page 45 of the CMMP (Appendix B)

2 Page 4 of the CMMP

3 Page 6 of the CMMP.

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