Canada’s Energy and Mines Ministers meet amid downturn (Northern Miner – July 21, 2015)

The Northern Miner, first published in 1915, during the Cobalt Silver Rush, is considered Canada’s leading authority on the mining industry.

VANCOUVER — On July 20 Canadian federal, provincial and territorial energy and mines ministers gathered in Halifax, N.S., for the 72nd annual Energy and Mines Ministers’ Conference (EMMC). The event comes at a time when the mining industry is looking to government for heightened assistance in weathering what has become a prolonged recession marked by falling exploration expenditures, project investment and share prices.

If the pitfalls of a struggling global economy and ailing commodity prices were not enough for the ministers to mull over, however, there are also a bevy of socio-political issues across the country that include waste management safety, sustainable development and Aboriginal relations.

In fact, the Canadian Mineral Industry Federation (CMIF) released a brief — in partnership with The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) and Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) — aptly labeled Weathering the Storm, which focuses on three “priority issues” as articulated by members of the mineral industry across the country.

“I think we really have to get as creative as we can if we’re going to attract natural resource investment. In a time of downturn we have to be especially aggressive and get after it or else things will get pretty scary. For us the key areas include ongoing investment in our workforce and more infrastructure projects,” commented Northwest Territories Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment David Ramsay during an interview.

According to a PDAC report released in early March global exploration budgets dropped by 26% in 2014. Canada and Australia continued to be the two top destinations for exploration, attracting $1.5 billion (13.9%) and $1.3 billion (11.7%), respectively. Grassroots exploration in Canada fell by 37% between 2013 and 2014, while spending on existing mine sites increased 13.5% and spending on “late-stage and feasibility work” fell by 25.5%.

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