Mining Association of Canada encouraged by Bill C-47

John Duncan
Minister John Duncan

John DuncanTHUNDER BAY – The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) has welcomed the federal government’s tabling of Bill C-47. The Legislation was brought forward in the House of Commons by Minister John Duncan. MAC is pleased in particular with the inclusion of the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act, as it could help spur more responsible mining projects in the territory, which currently has one operating mine. “The legislation comes at a critical time for Nunavut, with its promising mineral potential and opportunities for economic development never before seen in the territory’s history,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s President and CEO. “The new regulatory regime will help to enhance the territory’s economic competitiveness for mineral investment, while ensuring projects go through a robust assessment and permitting process.”

C-47 is An Act to enact the Nunavut Planning and Project Assessment Act and the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts.

The bill will result in a framework to determine how environmental assessment and permitting processes in Nunavut will proceed as new land use plans for the territory come forward.

Over the next decade, MAC estimates that new mine development across Canada’s North could bring in more than $8 billion in investment. For Nunavut, this could translate into some 4,500 new jobs and a significant increase local business development.

“By providing clarity and certainty around the regulatory framework, this new legislation will help give industry the confidence it needs to move forward with development decisions,” said Gratton. “This legislation recognizes the industry’s major role in the future economic development of Nunavut.”

Nunavut’s only operating mine, Agnico-Eagle’s Meadowbank Gold Mine, demonstrates the positive economic and social benefits the project has had on the region in terms of much-needed employment, skills training and local business development. Since the mine opened in 2010, Nunavut’s GDP has increased by 12 per cent, primarily due to the impact of the Meadowbank mine. The mine currently employs more than 750 permanent employees, 36 per cent of which are Inuit.

Agnico-Eagle also signed a historic agreement with the Kivalliq Inuit Association and has established an Inuit Impact Benefit Agreement that provides funding for education and skills development, with the objective of maximizing Inuit employment and business opportunities. In 2011, 57 per cent of all development and operational spending went to Nunavut businesses, totalling $190 million.

The new legislation is the result of a broad and thoughtful approach to stakeholder engagement undertaken by the Government of Canada. MAC was involved since the bill’s early stages of development, and participated in several rounds of a multi-stakeholder process to provide industry’s input on the legislation.

Bill C-47 also includes the Northwest Territories Surface Rights Board Act, which also makes amendments to the Yukon Surface Rights Board Act. These amendments will also aim to increase efficiencies and improve processes to support further economic growth in Canada’s North.

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