The past 20 years have not been kind to the mining industry in Manitoba. Low metal prices, challenges in raising capital and the previous NDP government’s adversarial attitude toward the industry have all contributed to a sharp decline in mineral exploration and mine development in the province.
Times have changed for the better! We are open for business and our government is committed to reduce the burden of red tape, manage the province’s fiscal situation and reduce the tax load on companies and Manitoba families. These improvements will have a positive impact on all sectors of the provincial economy, including the mining industry.
We are developing a clear focus on expectations for local communities and the exploration/mining industry. To this end, Ron Evans and Jim Downey have been tasked to develop a Mineral Development Protocol. This protocol will assist everyone from prospectors to local communities to mine developers to work together for the mutual benefit of all. The establishment of this protocol will be a clear signal to investors that Manitobans welcome development opportunities for their mineral sector.
Having recently attended the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in Toronto, the world’s largest mining and trade exposition, it was very encouraging to meet with so many development companies that are already working in Manitoba. It was also encouraging to hear how local communities and mineral development companies are working together. This partnership is not just about jobs – it’s about supplying services and further education for careers in the mining industry. Local employment provides stability for both communities and companies building the local economy, which in turn drives economic development in our province. Our government will continue to work in a positive fashion to welcome the investment that makes these gains possible.
The overarching message heard at the PDAC convention was about the strong prospectivity of Northern Manitoba in terms of mineral resources and employment potential. Investors are talking and taking note of the changes we are making.
“The mining industry is global in scale and scope, and investors are seeking opportunities across the world,” said Kelvin Dushnisky, president of Barrick Gold Corporation, the world's largest gold producer. “Many understand the untapped development potential that exists in Manitoba, in terms of possible new mining opportunities and the base of skilled workers to support them. The efforts of Manitoba’s provincial government to continue to improve business conditions are very positive, particularly for newer, growing resource firms and the investors looking to support them.”
It is the role of our government to ensure all of these positive attributes continue to mesh in order to fix the province’s finances, repair our services and rebuild the economy for the betterment of all of Manitoba.
The only thing better than today in Manitoba is tomorrow in Manitoba!
Blaine Pedersen is the Manitoba Minister of Growth, Enterprise and Trade.