While Canada remains the top destination for mining investments and has turned its resource advantage into a competitive edge across several connected industries, the sector needs to urgently deal with the emerging challenges, said Wednesday the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
In its report The World's Mining Capital: How Canada Transformed Its Resources Endowment Into a Global Competitive Advantage, the business association says one of the dark clouds on the horizon for the local mining sector is the growing skills crisis that is becoming a significant constraint on the industry.
The document details how Canadian mining companies have provided the leverage for finance, insurance, speciality manufacturing and other related industries to succeed in highly competitive sectors.
It also argues that governments are critical to the mining industry's success.
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 that year reached $102 billion (over a fifth of the nation's total exports).
While Toronto is the global capital of mining finance, British Columbia has become the area with the largest concentration of mining exploration firms in the world. Sudbury, in turn, has a century of history as a mining center and over a dozen mines operating within city limits, notes the document.
"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.
"We have built a strong sector through smart policies and strategic investments, but must continuously work to maintain it," added Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada.
Despite current hurdles for the global mining industry, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce stresses the country’s sector prospects remain strong.