“We have already succeeded as Canadians on the global
mining stage. We are every-where…Canada’s voice is
loud, the Canadian industry is loud, our expertise is
used everywhere, our government legislation is copied
everywhere. We have nothing to fear about our place
in the world.” (Pierre Gratton, President and CEO,
Mining Association of Canada)
It can be a difficult message to deliver, but someone has to do it, says the head of an organization that calls itself the voice of the mining industry in Canada.
Foreign investment in mining companies is a good thing and should not be feared, says Pierre Gratton.
In Sudbury, for instance, the billions in investments that Vale is looking to make in its Sudbury operations might not have been made by the former Inco Ltd.
Gratton, president and chief executive officer of the Mining Association of Canada, urged an audience of 200 people Thursday to “avoid protectionism.”
Gratton spoke to the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce about what’s happening globally in the metals market, what that means for Canada and what it means for Sudbury.
“It’s a hard message, but somebody’s got to say it,” he said of foreign investment in an interview after his presentation at Bryston’s on the Park.
“We have already succeeded as Canadians on the global mining stage. We are every-where,” said Gratton. “Canada’s voice is loud, the Canadian industry is loud, our expertise is used everywhere, our government legislation is copied everywhere. We have nothing to fear about our place in the world.”
At the end of the day, said Gratton, “how much does it really matter if you’re working for a company whose headquarters might be somewhere else when you, as an individual, your opportunity is here? It could be anywhere else in the world.”
Gratton told the audience that more than $130 billion is expected to invested in Canadian mining operations in the next five years. More than $5 billion of that is in Sudbury.
“If Canada were to rely solely on our own companies to make the kind of investments in the $130 billion I’m talking about in the next five years, it would be a much shorter list,” said Gratton.
Often Canadian companies are not investing here, but are putting their money into offshore projects. Still, those projects can benefit Sudbury if we offer them the mining supplies and services we have here.
The mining industry has “transformed” in that there are only four or five “very, very big multinational mining companies in the world,” said Gratton.
Some of those companies, such as Xstrata Nickel and Teck Cominco, are headquartered in Canada.
“We still have a lot of big companies ourselves,” he said.
Canada also has the largest number of mining companies operating or exploring around the world.
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