Canada which ranks among the top five countries in the production of 14 major minerals and metals has lately been seeing a slowdown of sorts after the commodity market hit a brick wall. The disturbing trend was a cause of alarm for some time, but now there are signs of a slow recovery emerging. Canada’s mining industry seems to be on the right path to continued prosperity despite the current market volatility. The decade-old commodity market had begun to lose steam and with Canada being an economy where commodities drive 20% of the GDP, it seemed to stall for a bit. The slow recovery has begun to create new hope. With this recovery the metals and mining scene looks to emerge stronger and Canadian mining companies have already begun to invest millions annually in research and development as well as exploration.
The mining scene in Canada is going through various changes and there are various factors which could play a major role in diminishing its future success. Some important factors influencing the metals and mining industry in Canada include shortage of skilled workers, increasing social demands for environmental protection, and a downturn in world demand stemming from political instability. Canada’s mining community has deep ties with Australia’s mining sector which is heavily exposed to Chinese demand, with leading miners postponing investment plans and shuttering projects, there is bound to be an effect on Canada as well. China being the biggest consumer of metals mandates good trade relations with Canada for sustained investments and infrastructure growth in Canada’s metals and mining sector.
The Mining Association of Canada (MAC) estimates that there is bound to be about US$140 billion in new mining investments in Canada over the next five to ten years. The British Columbia region being Canada’s minerals gateway for key Asian markets is expected to see more than US$30 billion in investment over the next ten years.
The main growth driver in the Canadian mining sector is increased influx of investments and demand from countries such as China which is one of the biggest consumers. The metals and mining industry in Canada is mainly driven by the debt market which offered mining companies extremely attractive terms in 2012 and they responded by issuing a staggering amount of it. According to Financial Post data, Canadian miners have sold US$15.6 billion of debt in 2012. That compares with US$9.4 billion in 2011 and just US$5.5 billion in 2010.
Opportunity awaits investors in Canadian mining companies that are looking for innovation to grow beyond the recent slowdown; this would throw open sourcing opportunities, which is an area of concern and an impediment to growth. Mining equipment and machinery being sourced from developing economies can offer cost arbitrage for the mining companies. A global sourcing approach is essential to this growth initiative. Brickwork Sourcing works with global metals and mining companies and has capabilities of providing end-to-end sourcing, vendor and supply chain management solutions.
Is the Canadian mining sector heavily dependent on Chinese demand for metals?