The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) expressed satisfaction with the federal government’s renewal of funding for key areas such as environmental assessment, the Major Projects Management Office, Aboriginal education and training, and geoscience.
“Given the current financial situation and the need for fiscal discipline, I am pleased to see the federal government renew investment in critical areas,” said Pierre Gratton, MAC’s president and CEO. “The government has also made some strategic investments in innovation, marine safety and infrastructure that should pay dividends over time.”
Mining now accounts for a large majority of federal environmental assessments. Support for the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency, and other federal permitting departments, is essential to ensure the timely and effective review of major mining projects. As the largest employer of aboriginal Canadians on a proportionate bases, the mining sector is also an active partner in several aboriginal mine training programs across Canada.
Budget 2015 also contains a number of additional initiatives helpful to Canada’s mining sector, including extending the borrowing limits for the governments of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut to $1.3 billion and $650 million, respectively, which should facilitate new infrastructure investments.
It extends the 15% mineral exploration tax credit for flow-through share investors for an additional year, and reaffirms the government’s stated intention to ensure the costs associated with undertaking environmental studies and community consultations that are required to obtain an exploration permit will be eligible for Canadian Exploration Expense treatment.
The budget includes $23 million allocated over five years from Natural Resources Canada to stimulate the technological innovation needed to separate and develop rare earth elements and chromite. The budget also proposes $42 million over five years to expand the footprint and resources of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCC). The TCC provides support to Canadian businesses abroad, including those in the mining sector.
“Taken together, the federal government has maintained investments important to our sector, but also necessary to ensure Canadians benefit when the commodities market rebounds,” added Gratton.