Canada’s mining sector will remain one of the steadiest growth stories in the Americas region thanks to diversified mineral deposits and a steady pipeline of investment. Canada mineral production is diversified across base and precious metals as well as industrial minerals. The country is a top ten global producer of zinc, lead, iron ore, nickel, copper, gold, silver, uranium and potash. With many companies both headquartered and producing in Canada, the mining sector is crucial to the Canadian economy. Thus, we expect Canada’s political leadership to maintain favourable tax and regulatory policies for the sector. However, weak US growth, eurozone troubles, and slowing, less commodity-intensive growth in China, will lead to slow, albeit stable growth in the Canadian mining sector.
We have revised our forecast downward for Canada’s mining industry value from US$US33.8bn to US$29bn in 2017 on the back of our outlook for weak Chinese and developed world growth. Though global demand growth is likely to remain slow and global production capacity is at an all time high, particularly for base metals, decreasing ore quality and rising costs among major mineral exporters should encourage new exploration across Canada’s untapped resources. While Canada is less cost competitive on a per-unit-of-output basis compared to some developing-world exporters, its technological, infrastructure, and governance advantages makes it an attractive investment destination. Therefore, we forecast average annual industry growth of 3.1% between 2012 and 2017 as Canada’s stable business environment attracts consistent investment.
Canada’s well developed capital markets allow firms to access funding beyond traditional credit channels, though equity financing has slowed. Canadian firms also led M&A activity in the first half of 2012, with junior gold miners particularly engaged in deal making. Tax and royalty policies also remain favourable for mining firms. Canada maintains a dual-tiered regulatory system, comprising both provincial and federal stakeholders, and project approval can sometimes take upwards of several years. However, Canada’s federal authorities have expressed interest in reforming and streamlining the system to prevent one project from needing multiple government approvals.
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