December 14, 2012
Hon. Dennis Patterson – Honourable Senators, in light of our government’s recent decisions on foreign investments in the oil and gas sector, today I wish to discuss foreign investment in the natural resource sector from a northern perspective. In my opinion, continued foreign investment is key to the future growth of the north’s mining industry.
Today, junior mining companies consistently report that investment capital is very hard to come by, especially from within Canada.
In Nunavut, and north of the 60th parallel, this challenge is exacerbated by much higher costs of development due to remoteness and the absence of existing infrastructure.
Consequently, many of our major mining developments in all three northern territories are backed by foreign investors, as owners or partners.
At a glance, in Nunavut there are multi-billion dollar iron ore projects, a uranium project, a diamond project, a precious metals and a base metals project which would not be advancing without foreign capital. The NWT diamond industry has also developed and is further developing, largely due to foreign capital. In the Yukon, foreign investment to date amounts to $700 million, most notably in the Selwyn and Wolverine lead zinc projects.
In my experience, these companies have shown high respect for their social, environmental and land claims obligations.
I wish to congratulate our government for its recent balanced decisions on Nexen and Petronas, which I believe signals a continued welcoming climate for foreign investment in Canada and northern Canada, while insuring that mechanisms are in place to protect the public interest and safeguard net benefits to Canada on a case by case basis.