RAPAPORT... The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) reported record global interest for the nation's minerals and metals during 2011, which was the most recent reporting year. Exploration spending in Canada that year reached $3.9 billion, and MAC estimated investment was expected to have been even higher for 2012.
"The growth in exploration spending in Canada over the past decade has been remarkable," said Pierre Gratton, MAC's president. "Despite challenges, such as reduced access to capital for some miners, buoyant mineral prices have increased company willingness to invest significantly in the location and development of certain minerals and metals in Canada."
Since 2002, MAC determined that exploration spending in Canada surged 585 percent, and by 2011 Canada had become the top destination for exploration spending, representing 18 percent of global investment. Canada's mineral production value rose 21 percent year on year in 2011 to a record $50.3 billion. While MAC didn't cite the diamond figures specifically, Kimberley Process statistics ranked Canada third in the world for rough production in 2011 at $2.6 billion.
The mining industry exported a record $101.9 billion worth of metals, non-metals and coal in 2011, accounting for 22.8 percent of Canada's total exports, according to MAC. The industry contributed $35.6 billion to Canada's gross domestic product (GDP), paid more than $9 billion in taxes and royalties to national and local governments and employed 320,000 workers across the country.
While well-established mining provinces continued to dominate Canada's mineral production, with Ontario at $10.6 billion, Saskatchewan at $9.2 billion, British Columbia at $8.5 billion and Quebec at $7.7 billion, MAC observed notable increases in other regions with Newfoundland and Labrador's mineral production value reaching $5.1 billion in 2011, which was a six-fold increase since 2002.
"As exploration activity and mineral production are intrinsically linked, the Canadian mining industry could see a dramatic expansion in the years to come," said Gratton. "While some volatility is anticipated, the larger determinant in capitalizing on the opportunities before us is to ensure the industry has access to the right investment and regulatory environments it needs to support development."
Looking ahead for 2013, MAC stressed that despite challenges, the Canadian mining industry's economic prospects are strong. "Regardless of concerns over the growth rates of China and other emerging markets, it is widely held that growth, even if at a moderately reduced pace, is likely to remain strong over the long term," said Gratton.