Mining Association of Canada | 2023 Report

The Mining Association of Canada | The Canadian Mining Story: Economic Impacts and Drivers for the Global Energy Transition 2023 12 Abitibi Geological Province along the Ontario-Quebec border. The Abitibi has supported more than 100 mines since its discovery in the late 1800s, but its potential was only realized with the construction of the Timiskaming and Northern Railway at the turn of the last century. The Slave Geological Province has no railway, no highway, and no power grid. As a result, any development requires costly winter roads and air transportation for access. This means only the rarest and highest quality deposits of precious metals and diamonds are economically feasible to mine. A substantial investment in the region’s infrastructure could improve the prospects of mines in the area. Gold, diamond and iron ore mining are excellent examples of the driving force the mining industry plays in supporting Indigenous reconciliation in remote regions. In Nunavut and the Northwest Territories, the mining sector is the largest employer of Indigenous peoples and the largest business partner to Indigenous firms. Cultivating relationships with local communities, establishing meaningful partnerships, constructing mines and training local workforces has taken decades of work. With few alternative economic development opportunities, climate policy considerations in the North must be weighed against the long-term costs to the industry’s competitiveness. For example, Nunavut’s four operating mines have invested in best-inclass diesel energy infrastructure that still requires more than 100 million litres of diesel each year to power their mine sites. Currently, there are no other energy alternatives for Nunavut communities or industry. Strategic investments in energy infrastructure, including potential off-grid Small Modular Reactors, will reduce northern reliance on fossil fuels. The Kivalliq Hydro-Fibre Link is an Inuit-led project that will deliver renewable energy and broadband service to underserved remote communities while enabling the region’s mining sector to flourish. The Hydro-Fibre Link project is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to decarbonize communities and industry in Nunavut, improve quality of life and connectivity, and create new economic opportunities long into the future. The benefits from this project will be enormous for the environment and for the economies of Nunavut and Canada and would work to solve two persistent problems at once.