Canada continues to lead project development

Speaking at the World Mining Investment Congress in London last week, for which International Mining was the lead media partner, Gordon R. Peeling, President and CEO of The Mining Association of Canada, noted that Canada’s mining industry currently employs 388,000 Canadians (being the largest private sector employer, and growing, of Aboriginal Canadians) and accounts for 4% of Gross Domestic Product or $42 billion. It exports 80% of its production, accounting for 14% of annual Canadian exports. It also invests over $500 million in R&D expenditures annually (six of the top 100 R&D spenders are in Canada).

He focussed particularly on Canadian diamonds (to be IM’s July Operations Focus), which sector has now seen eight years of production, producing 48 Mct values at $6 billion. The chronology is as follows:

  • 1991 – Diamonds first discovered in NWT (Fipke, Blusson)
  • 1998 – Ekati – BHP Billiton Diamonds
  • 2003 – Diavik – Rio Tinto; Aber Diamond Joint Venture
  • 2006 – Jericho – Tahera Diamond Corp, Nunavut Territory
  • 2007 – Snap Lake – De Beers enters Canadian production
  • 2008 – Victor – Northern Ontario, De Beers #2
  • 2012 – Gahcho Kue, NWT – De Beers #3

Mines expected to open in 2007 include Pine Cove gold in Newfoundland, Podolsky nickel/copper and Cameron Lake gold in Ontario. Bucko nickel/copper in Manitoba, Cigar Lake uranium in Saskatchewan, Max molybdenum and Taurus II gold in British Columbia (BC), Minto copper/gold in the Yukon, Snap Lake diamonds in NWT and Doris North gold in Nunavut. He also highlighted the proposed mines in the permitting process in BC:

  • Caribou Gold Quartz/Bonanza gold
  • Cogburn magnesium
  • Davidson molybdenum
  • Galore Creek copper, gold, silver
  • Kemess North copper, gold
  • Kutcho Creek copper, zinc, gold, silver
  • Morrison/Hearne Hill copper, gold
  • Mount Milligan copper, gold
  • Prosperity copper, gold
  • Red Chris copper, gold
  • Ruby Creek molybdenum
  • Schaft Creek gold, silver, copper
  • Stronsay Lead Zinc zinc, lead, silver
  • Sulphurets gold, silver
  • Table Mountain gold
  • Tulsequah Chief copper, gold, zinc

Turning to the matter of project approvals, Peeling noted a new Canadian Federal Government initiative with a budget 2007: $60 million over two years in support of a Major Projects Management Office to provide funding to increase staff in key regulatory departments and agencies. This will provide a single window on the federal regulatory process for industry, to improve accountability by monitoring and reporting on the performance of federal regulatory departments. The key objective is to cut in half the average regulatory review period for natural resource projects – from four years to two years.