Trends that will Shape the Future of the Mining Industry

To successfully permit important projects, industry, governments, and Indigenous people must collaborate to achieve shared goals and interests.

FREMONT, CA: After going through the most challenging periods in decades, the mining and metals sector is now recovering. Cost reductions, automation, and operational efficiency are crucial in the new normal brought about by market volatility and a decline in commodity prices. Regulator-specific problems, geopolitical risks, regulatory restrictions on exploiting natural resources, shareholder activism, and public scrutiny have all intensified the difficulties. The future success of certain mining firms will depend on several trends, even if we anticipate an increase in demand for minerals in the following years.

Opportunities and narratives related to ESG

Two ESG narratives and opportunities relate to Canadian mining: (1) the global shift to a lower-carbon future requires metals and minerals; (2) Canada produces and manufactures these metals and minerals sustainably. Pushed by the mining industry for quite some time, it is increasingly being incorporated into the mainstream policy discourse. Optimistically, it could be a driving force for policy action supporting mining investment in the future. Canadian minerals play a crucial role in everyday products, such as cobalt, lithium, copper, and nickel for electric vehicles, and tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold for iPhones.

Innovation and water usage

We are all aware that mining uses and impacts water in a very significant way. There is, however, growing attention on the part of the government to rejuvenate water conservation and watershed management, as evidenced by some important regulatory proposals. Establish a Canada water agency, the proposed Coal Mining Effluent Regulations, and provincial initiatives to develop watershed security strategies and selenium management plans. Implementing the strategy will significantly impact land use and water use planning and, therefore, the mining industry.

Framework and reconciliation for Canada's regulatory system

Investments in the industry are likely to be significantly affected by the changes. In the mining industry, co-management and collaborative decision-making are expected to modify how decisions are made and the regulations that apply to the industry. As a result of the shift from Indigenous engagement to joint decision-making, the pace of change is accelerating. To ensure Canada's position as the leading mining nation and to supply the green and digitized economy, the government's Canadian Critical Minerals Strategy will need to be launched quickly and efficiently.