Rich resources, skilled workforce and large investments poise province for billions in new mining growth
ST. JOHN'S, April 25, 2012 /PRNewswire/ - Newfoundland and Labrador's economy will benefit from billions in mining investment in the near term as more than $140 billion in new mining investment is expected across Canada over the next five years. This growth is largely attributed to a number of promising projects located in the province, according to the Mining Association of Canada (MAC).
In a speech to members of the St. John's Board of Trade, MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton said strong commodity prices, driven by growing demand in rapidly developing nations such as China and India, are creating more opportunities for new mine development and major mine expansions not seen in many years.
"The overall strength of the mining industry is evident in virtually all regions of Canada and will result in numerous economic benefits. This includes the mineral-rich province of Newfoundland and Labrador, which is currently the fifth-largest mining jurisdiction in the country," said Gratton.
MAC estimates that about $140 billion in mining-related projects are currently proposed in Canada. In Newfoundland and Labrador, that includes billions worth of investments in the iron ore sector from many of the world's leading mining companies. For example, Vale's hydrometallurgical nickel plant now under construction at Long Harbour, which represents the largest capital project in the metals sector in Canada at a cost of $3.6 billion.
The value of mineral production in Newfoundland and Labrador is estimated at $4.6 billion in 2011 and is forecast to increase to $5.7 billion in 2012, which is about 10 per cent of total mineral production in Canada. In the goods-producing sector, mining is second only to oil, representing 8.6 per cent of provincial GDP in 2010. Exploration investment in the province is forecast to be a record high of $234 million in 2012, up from an estimate of $172 million in 2011. This increase is being driven largely by increased interest in iron ore in western Labrador.
"Newfoundland and Labrador's mining industry is providing unprecedented opportunities for business and careers," said George Ogilvie, Chair of Mining Industry NL and President of Rambler Metals and Mining. "With continuing supportive policy from our government we can continue our industry's expansion to create local economic and social benefits and supply the world with the products needed for our modern society."
MAC estimates that about 308,000 workers in Canada are employed in mineral extraction, smelting, fabrication and manufacturing. The sector also offers higher compensation as compared to many other sectors such as forestry and manufacturing, with the average weekly pay of $1,632 for a Canadian mining worker in 2010. Mining is also the largest private sector employer of aboriginal people in Canada.
Gratton also highlighted the federal government's recent decision to modernize Canada's environmental review and permitting processes for resource projects under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act. The "one project, one review" system, outlined in the government's Responsible Resource Development program as part of its Economic Action Plan 2012, also commits to set fixed timelines for project reviews and permitting to help prevent delays that can cost companies billions in lost investment and stunt job creation.
"The efficiency and clarity that will result from these reforms will allow Canada to take advantage of growing emerging market demand for commodities," Gratton said. "It will also accelerate investment, job growth and enhance Canada's international competitiveness and position as a mining superpower."
About the Mining Association of Canada (MAC)
The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada's production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit www.mining.ca
About Mining Industry NL
Mining Industry NL is a not-for-profit industry association that represents all sectors of the mineral industry in the province from exploration to operators, as well as service and supply. We are the official voice of the mineral industry and the principal point of contact for government, media and the public. As such, we play a vital role in ensuring that the contribution of the mineral industry to the economic and social development of the province is understood and appreciated. www.miningnl.com
SOURCE Mining Association of Canada (MAC)