Canada’s mining industry backs national carbon price

Canada’s largest mining companies have endorsed the federal government’s effort to establish a national price on carbon pollution, publishing Wednesday a series of principles local miners believe should be part of a national policy on climate change.

In its proposal, the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) recommends, among others, the adoption of a broad-based carbon price applicable to all sectors of the Canadian economy.

Miners' proposal comes as Ottawa works with the provinces and territories to establish a pan-Canadian approach to carbon pricing.

Pierre Gratton, president and CEO of the association representing most large miners, including coal and oil sands producers such as Teck Resources, Suncor Energy and Syncrude, said the document is based on 16 years of MAC’s members’ constant efforts to reduce emissions.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and the 13 provincial and territorial premiers agreed last month in Vancouver to shape a national climate strategy within six months. While they agreed there was a need for carbon pricing, there was no consensus on what that actually entails or whether Ottawa should set a minimum price.

Some premiers, including Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall, rejected the idea of a broad-based carbon price, saying it would hurt the economy.

Canada’s mining association unveiled its first climate change guidelines in 2000. In the years that followed, the group has worked to improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through measures such as MAC’s mandatory Towards Sustainable Mining (TSM) initiative as well as individual company efforts.

In 2009, MAC adopted the International Council on Mining and Metals’ climate change policy, which recognizes that comprehensive and sustained global action is required to reduce the scale of human-induced climate change and to adapt to its impact.