Not set in stone: The fight to preserve our competitive edge in mining

TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2013 /CNW/ - While Canada has successfully transformed its resource advantage in metals and minerals into a competitive edge across several connected industries, we need to ensure that the factors that made us the global leader in the sector are strengthened, according to a report issued today by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Entitled The World's Mining Capital: How Canada Transformed Its Resources Endowment Into a Global Competitive Advantage, the report details how Canadian mining companies have provided the leverage for finance, insurance, speciality manufacturing and other related industries to succeed in highly competitive sectors.

Employing more than 320,000 Canadians, the core mining industries contributed $35.6 billion to Canada's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in 2011. Mining exports in 2011 reached $102 billion (over a fifth of our nation's total exports).

Toronto is the global capital of mining finance, British Columbia has the largest concentration of mining exploration firms in the world and Sudbury has a century of history as a mining center and over a dozen mines operating within city limits. Moreover, the Canadian mining industry is highly integrated into the global economy and is one of the few sectors where Canada has a strong external investment presence.

"We have leveraged our metal and mineral endowment not just by extracting and processing raw material but also by creating and selling the knowledge of how to develop these resources. What we need now is to ensure that the factors that made us the global leader of the sector are strengthened," said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Beatty said one of the dark clouds on the horizon for the mining sector is the growing skills crisis that is becoming a significant constraint on the industry. The Canadian Chamber also argues that governments are critical to the mining industry's success. New investments in both physical and intangible infrastructure are needed to exploit our resource endowments.

"We thank the Canadian Chamber of Commerce for a report that captures the true breadth and depth of Canada's mining sector, a unique Canadian success story," stated Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada. "Beyond the mine gate that contains some of the best paid jobs in the country, Canadian mining permeates and supports so much of our economy, from the suppliers of equipment to the financial worlds of banking, law and accounting, to our railways and ports and stretching far beyond to all four corners of the globe. We have built a strong sector through smart policies and strategic investments, but must continuously work to maintain it."

"In Canada, we have a world-leading network of industry players, including mining entrepreneurs, mining finance professionals, engineers, geologists, lawyers and accountants. This mining ecosystem provides some of the best expertise worldwide and is what helps set Toronto Stock Exchange and TSX Venture Exchange apart from other exchanges," said Kevan Cowan, President, TSX Markets and Group Head of Equities.  "This ecosystem combined with our own deep experience, sound policies and innovative spirit has helped us achieve our position as the world's leading mining exchange group."

"There are elements of our national effort that cannot be left to the private sector alone," Beatty said. "Constant innovation is needed to keep Canada's competitive edge sharp as well as deal with increasing concerns over the environmental impacts of the industry. Access to resources and a regulatory regime that effectively protects Canadians without placing undue constraint on industry is becoming increasingly important," he concluded.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the vital connection between business and the federal government. It helps shape public policy and decision-making to the benefit of businesses, communities and families across Canada with a network of over 420 chambers of commerce and boards of trade, representing 192,000 businesses of all sizes in all sectors of the economy and in all regions. News and information are available at www.chamber.ca or follow us on Twitter @CdnChamberofCom.


SOURCE CANADIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE



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