Canada and Mexico: Partners for the Long TermSat, 10/28/2017 - 12:57
Q: How does the Canadian government and ministry support companies that want to enter Mexico?
A: Mexico is an important partner for Canada, with more than $40 billion in trade between us in 2016. That trade was dominated by the minerals and metals sector and Mexico is a leading destination for Canadian mining assets abroad. Our government is supporting this strong partnership in a number of ways. Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, the Canadian Embassy in Mexico and Export Development Canada provide Canadian companies with market intelligence and key contacts in Mexico. We are also promoting Canadian services, equipment, and technologies. We are fostering opportunities for more trade and investment through government-to-government engagement.
This engagement is carried out primarily through bilateral agreements, and in February 2017, I had the pleasure of visiting Mexico and signing the Memorandum of Understanding on Collaboration in Sustainable Mineral Development between Natural Resources Canada and Mexico’s Ministry of Economy. That visit showcased Canadian expertise and opened the door to new business opportunities between our two countries.
Q: How can some of Canada’s best practices be adapted to the Mexican context?
A: One of the best ways to share expertise is through initiatives such as the Canada-Mexico Partnership. Through that partnership, we have collaborated with the Mexican government to hold seminars on consultation and engagement with indigenous communities – something that our exploration and mining industry has had great success with. We have also shared best practices in tailings and wastewater management as well as green mining technologies. Looking ahead, case studies in both countries will provide information on environmental innovation and the use of renewable energy.
Our government expects Canadian companies to respect all laws and follow the highest international standards of corporate social responsibility and environmental stewardship, whether they are operating at home or abroad.
I am proud to say that Canadian companies have made it a priority to engage early and respectfully throughout the lifecycle of their Mexican projects.
Q: To what extent can mining truly respect the environment and what can be done to minimize its impact?
A: Canadians believe that it is not only possible to minimize the impact of mining on the environment, it is essential. That begins with strong legislation and, in Canada, mining activities are governed by two main statutes. The first is the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, 2012, which covers federal environmental assessments. These assessments are required for mining, energy, hydroelectric, nuclear, infrastructure and other projects and aim to minimize environmental impacts. The provincial and territorial governments have similar legislation for assessing projects under their jurisdiction. The second is the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, which governs areas of federal jurisdiction such as the regulation of toxic substances, cross-border air and water pollution and waste disposal into oceans.
In addition to these general statutes, we have industryspecific regulations. For example, under the Fisheries Act, there are Metal Mining Effluent Regulations, which set standards for the quality of all effluent discharged into Canada’s waterways. As well as establishing environmental laws, it is also critical to invest in new, clean technologies that minimize the environmental impact of mining. Canadian mining companies are making significant investments in green mining practices – investments that have produced impressive results in managing water use, minimizing waste and reducing their environmental footprint. By focusing our efforts on developing innovative technologies and providing regulatory certainty, Canada is leading the way in developing environmentally responsible mining practices.