Mining industry commends the federal government on GEM funding announcement
The Government of Canada's decision to renew the Geo-mapping for Energy and Minerals (GEM) program is a positive and welcome investment that will help facilitate exploration activities in Canada's North.
Building on a previous allocation of $100 million over five years from Federal Budget 2008, the government's renewed commitment of $100 million over seven years will carry this important work forward to the benefit of the mineral industry, northerners and all Canadians.
"Mineral exploration is like looking for a needle in a haystack," said Pierre Gratton, President and CEO of the Mining Association of Canada (MAC). "This continued investment in surveying will help the industry better determine where mineral deposits are located, and ultimately, where the next generation of Canadian mines can be developed."
Geoscience is a fundamental building block of a minerals economy. For companies conducting exploration, it makes sense to spend their high-risk dollars in areas where good geological data is available in order to heighten the chances of finding a deposit. By developing a broader body of reliable geological information, Canada is enhancing its attractiveness as a destination for mineral exploration investment.
Canada's three territories are rich in resources, including gold, diamonds, rare earths, copper, zinc and lead, and geo-mapping and exploration will help to identify more types of deposits in the region. Roughly three-quarters of the GEM spending was directed toward investment in three territories where the mapping needs are most acute.
The minerals industry has played an important role to date in facilitating northern development, with GDP contributions in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut of 24.2 per cent and 26 per cent, respectively. In 2012, the three territories attracted nearly $450 million in exploration investment. It is programs such as GEM that have contributed to Canada being the number one destination for mineral exploration on the planet since 2006.
"There is great interest in Canada's northern mineral potential and the GEM program is critical to mapping out mineral opportunities in a region where geoscience knowledge is currently lacking," said Gratton. "We welcome the government's continued support of programs such as GEM that are key to enhancing Canada's global competitiveness through the facilitation of mineral exploration."
The GEM program renewal follows positive skills training announcements from Prime Minister Stephen Harper during his northern tour, including $5.8 million over two years to support the Northwest Territories Mine Training Society for a new mining sector-skills training program in the Northwest Territories and in the Kitikmeot region of Nunavut. Earlier in the week, the Prime Minister also announced support for the creation of a new Centre for Northern Innovation in Mining to be housed within Yukon College in Whitehorse, a $5.6 million investment over four years. Both of these programs aim to help Aboriginal peoples and northerners obtain the training and skills required for well-paying and highly-technical positions in the growing mining industry.
These programs, like the highly successful BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association and the new, recently announced training program in the Ring of Fire, are strongly supported by MAC as critical investments for enabling full participation of Aboriginal peoples in the mining sector.
The Mining Association of Canada