The Canadian government is preparing a campaign to promote its mining sector abroad. It is an effort that will draw on Ottawa’s power and global network of diplomatic missions to help Canadian companies expand their exploration and extraction activity around the world.
Ottawa has already worked with large mining companies to jointly fund development projects in Africa and South America. The latest promotional campaign is part of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives efforts to redirect foreign affairs, international development and trade spending.
International Trade Minister Ed Fast will launched cross-country consultations to get feedback as he draws up an agenda on what support it should offer to Canadian mining firms, the Globe and Mail reported. The effort is billed as helping the extractive sector, which also includes oil and gas companies, but is almost wholly focused on mining.
Government assistance could include pouring more effort into signing investor protection deals with foreign countries to create a more stable investment climate abroad or pushing consulates and embassies to promote Canadian mining projects and produce more comprehensive and frequent updates on market conditions abroad. Canada has more than 260 diplomatic and consular offices in about 150 countries.
“As our government continues to focus on the real priorities of Canadian workers and families – jobs, growth and long-term prosperity – ensuring key sectors of our economy succeed is essential to those efforts,” Fast said in a statement.
Canadian mining companies generate billions of dollars of revenue abroad and this activity in turn helps support thousands of well-paying jobs across this country in both cities and rural Canada. Fully two-thirds of Canadian companies’ mining operations are outside of Canada, according to the Globe and Mail.
Canada is one of the largest mining nations in the world, operating in more than 100 countries. Mining companies headquartered in Canada accounted for nearly 37 percent of budgeted global exploration spending in 2012, according to Ottawa.
The Harper government, through what it calls a global commerce strategy, has been narrowing its diplomatic resources to focus on more select, but key, markets that include Canadian mining. Canada is among the top-five producers of potash, uranium, nickel, platinum, aluminum, diamonds and steel-making coal.