The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has released its annual ‘Facts & Figures’ report, a comprehensive overview of current trends, including updated statistics and analysis, in Canada’s mining sector. With the impact of COVID-19 and the resulting heighted demand for minerals and metals, Canada’s mining industry is poised to play a leadership role in economic recovery efforts, both domestically and internationally, as the pandemic continues to have a massive impact on daily lives.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the significant role the mining sector plays in ensuring the materials people and businesses need now more than ever are both available and responsibly sourced,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s President and CEO. “With demand for minerals and metals expected to grow as both the Canadian and global economy recover from the COVID-related downturn, Canada’s mining industry is proud to be recognised as a responsible producer, providing global leadership in corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship through ‘Towards Sustainable Mining’. This year’s ‘Facts & Figures’ report highlights just how integral our sector is to the products needed during this unprecedented time.”
Highlights from the most recent report include:
- In 2019, the mining sector contributed CAN$109 Billion, or 5%, of Canada’s total nominal GDP.
- The industry’s direct and indirect employment accounts for 719 000 jobs, accounting for one in every 26 jobs in Canada.
- Proportionally, the mining industry is the largest heavy industrial employer of Indigenous peoples and provided over 16 500 jobs to community members.
- The Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange are the world’s number one mining and exploration listing venues, where 37% of global mining equity has been raised over the last 5 years.
- Richly endowed with natural resources, Canada ranks among the top five countries in the global production of 17 minerals and metals.
- Valued at CAN$106 billion in 2018, mineral exports accounted for 19% of Canada’s total domestic exports.
With this good news also comes the need to focus on where Canada’s mining industry still has room to improve when it comes to its global competitiveness:
- While 2020 saw a modest increase in the value of mining projects planned and under construction from 2020 to 2030 (by CAN$2 billion y/y), the total 10-year projected value (CAN$82 billion) remains nearly 50% below the 2014 level of CAN$160 billion.
- Canada continued to lose ground to Australia in the competition for the world’s top destination for non-ferrous exploration spending in 2019, accounting for 13% of total global expenditures in 2019. Capital spending in the sector is projected to account for 4.9% of Canada’s total at CAN$11.9 billion, also down y/y.
- Canada’s share of global production for critical minerals and metals has been eroding, with other jurisdictions capturing greater market share for growing demand.
“Critical to bolstering the industry’s domestic and international leadership is a predictable and consistent domestic policy and regulatory environment, with proactive and bold policy to position the country for longer term success, particularly in the face of the pandemic,” continued Gratton. “There are tremendous opportunities to do that in the areas of critical and battery minerals – arguably the foundation for any resurgence in Canadian advanced manufacturing and essential elements in the move towards a lower-carbon future.”
Public enthusiasm for enhanced critical minerals development in Canada is high, with almost 90% of those surveyed for MAC by Abacus Data liking the idea of Canada being a preferred source for critical minerals and wanting to see government take a number of steps to support this approach. It is clear that these essential elements required as inputs in the goods, including clean and healthcare technologies, Canada creates and on which Canadians and the economy depend represent an important opportunity for the country’s mining sector and economy as a whole.
“We feel energised by federal commitments pertaining to mining and critical minerals in particular, including the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan and the Canada – U.S. Joint Action Plan on Critical Minerals Collaboration, and we look forward to working with the new Biden administration given the enormous opportunity before us for enhanced partnerships between Canada and the US in this space,” concluded Gratton. “Our industry has a significant role to play in Canada’s economic recovery and can provide leadership in the critical minerals space, the time to seize the moment is now.”