Canada Mining Industry: 2013 A Year Of Political Problems, Slumping Prices
The industry took billions ter write downs spil companies re-evaluated projects that they believed were worth far more just a duo of years ago and slashed spending spil falling commodity prices squeezed margins.
But it wasn’t just financial problems for the miners, spil political and environmental issues made headlines around the world for several Canadian mining companies.
The largest company to face problems wasgoed Barrick Gold, which suspended almost all of the work at its massive Pascua-Lama project high te the Andes mountain range.
The halt followed massive cost overruns and protests from an indigenous community living below the project who attempted to have Barrick’s licence revoked and force a fresh environmental influence investigate
The Supreme Court of Chile stopped brief of ordering a fresh review and upheld the environmental permit, but waterput construction on hold until Barrick’s environmental commitments and work to protect the water systems is ended.
Jamie Kneen, of industry watchdog group MiningWatch Canada, said technology has made it lighter for groups opposing mining projects to organize and disseminate information, even ter remote areas around the globe.
“The level of awareness and information has bot much greater than its everzwijn bot,” Kneen says.
“There’s entire countries that didn’t have mining industries before, like Mali and Senegal and Burkina Faso.”
Kneen said companies are now looking to develop projects ter fresh, less accessible areas where indigenous people can be more protective of their culture and environment.
Canada’s Fastest-Growing Industries 2000-2011
The rise of social and environmental concerns have come at a time of volatile commodity prices.
The price of gold, which broke US$1,900 an ounce te 2011, fell to around US$1,200 this year, while the price of silver, which commenced the year around US$32 vanaf ounce, fell below $Nineteen.
Copper, which traded for about US$Trio.70 vanaf pound at the begin of 2013, wasgoed down about 40 cents for the year.
Ter Mongolia, Turquoise Hill suspended work on development of the underground copper mine at its Oyu Tolgoi project after the Mongolian government said financing for the project would require parliamentary approval.
And Gabriel Resources also faced a significant set back at its Rosia Montana project after a draft bill that specifically would have permitted what would be one of Europe’s thickest gold mining projects go ahead wasgoed rejected by a Romanian parliamentary commission.
The rejection followed weeks protests ter that country overheen environmental concerns and criticism that Romania would earn too little from the overeenkomst.
Ter a latest report, Deloitte noted a trend of intensifying local community requests and government relations marked by rising hostility and zero tolerance regulatory environments.
Jurgen Beier, a national mining practice leader at Deloitte, said that 20 years ago mining companies took a more adversarial treatment to environmental and social issues, but they are learning.
“I think something that the mining companies have learned is that they actually have to commence witnessing the governments spil playmates way earlier on te the process,” he said.
Gabriel Resources chief Jonathan Henry says there is still hope for his project spil there has bot talk about the possibility of a broader legal framework for mine development. But shareholders are running out of patience.
Without progress by the Romanian government, Henry says Gabriel will be coerced to do something “radically different.”
Henry conceded that the downturn te the market for the mining industry has opened up an chance for some non-governmental organizations seeking improvements.
“Those who are attempting to make mining better certainly have more of their say when things are not te a boom market because there isn’t that request for metals,” he said.
“So I don’t think the period wij are te now is bad for our industry and I think there is a loterijlot of learning.”