The past year has seen a lot of Canadians paying attention to aboriginal land rights.
The mining industry contributes mightily to Canada’s economic prosperity, adding $54 billion to Canada’s GDP and employing roughly 383,000 Canadians at an average annual salary of more than $110,000 in 2013. But Canada has a serious problem with land-use certainty that may threaten future investment in the sector.
The pictures coming out of northern British Columbia where a mine-tailings pond in Mount Polley ruptured on August 4, 2014 are painful to see. The fact that the site is remote, and that only a small number of people are likely to be directly affected doesn’t mitigate the visceral pain one feels at seeing images of uprooted trees, and mud-clogged streams and rivers.
British Columbia was once regarded by miners as hostile to investment and ranked last in Canada for the attractiveness of its mining policy environment. However the tide has turned in recent years and British Columbia has again improved its ratings for global mining investment.