Category Archives: other minerals
Thu Mar 16, 2017 | 1:44pm EDT
By Zandi Shabalala | LONDON
Smaller mining companies seek IPOs but deals remain modest
FIILE PHOTO: Workers are seen underground South Africa’s Gold Fields South Deep mine in Westonaria, 45 kilometres south-west of Johannesburg, South Africa, March 9, 2017. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo
Stock market flotations of smaller mining and metals companies are set to pick up this year, although a return to the flood of deals five or six years ago remains unlikely while investors rebuild their bruised confidence in the sector.
A continued rally in metals prices is galvanizing some firms into raising capital on exchanges across the world to fund exploration and plow cash into existing projects, with others also preparing initial public offerings.
But with investors’ memories fresh of a bloodbath in mining stocks in 2015, the firms’ ambitions are modest: they are joining small-capital indexes or listing on junior markets in deals typically worth $10 million or less – far from Glencore’s $10 billion flotation in 2011 when commodities were booming.
“We are at the early stages of a cyclical recovery so you would expect to see the first signs of resurgence in the IPO market,” said Michael Rawlinson, Global co-head of Global Mining and Metals at Barclays.
So far this year, the bulk of IPOs have been in Australia, where nine mining companies have already filed to list their shares on the Australian Stock Exchange. That compares with 10 new issues for the whole of 2016.
Lee Downham, head of EY’s global mining & metals transaction advisory services, said the small-cap indexes in Toronto, London and Australia would see the bulk of initial activity until investors built up the confidence for larger cash calls.
“The sector needs to regain shareholder confidence before the bigger fundraising takes place,” he said.
Investors were stung when mining indexes in London, Australia and Toronto fell between 27 and 50 percent in 2015, with Anglo-American (AAL.L
) losing 75 percent of its value.
However, commodity prices began their revival last year, sending Anglo-American back up nearly 300 percent and making it the best performing blue chip in London, albeit from a low base.
GOLD EXPLORERS DOMINATE
Gold exploration companies, including Huntsman Resources and Raptor Resources, have dominated the Australian crop of IPOs so far as they take advantage of bullion prices rising in 2016 for the first time in three years.
Huntsman Resources is an exploration company with projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Australia, while Raptor Resources explores for gold and copper in Australia.
Also expecting to list in Australia is lithium-focused Marquee Resources, which plans to raise $2.7 million from investors to find and develop exploration projects.
The London Stock Exchange, which hosts three of the world’s largest five mining firms, listed two companies last year – rare earths miner Mkango Resources (MKA.L
) and uranium miner Aura Energy (AURA.L). They followed just one flotation in 2015.
Mkango chief executive Will Dawes said the miner listed on London’s junior AIM market to fund its projects, increase liquidity and broaden its shareholder base while maintaining its Toronto listing.
Rainbow Rare Earths RWBR.L raised $8 million from its listing in London in January to fund its Burundi project.
“Circumstances seem to be more optimistic for junior mining IPOs in the short to medium term than they have been before,” said Martin Eales, chief executive of Rainbow Rare Earths.
Performance of the new listings has been mixed. Shares in Mkango and Rainbow have not added that much value but Aura Energy has surged about 75 percent.
There have been two new mining listings on the Toronto Stock Exchange so far this year, and the bourse said more are expected in the coming months. In 2016, there was a 38 percent increase in cash raisings by mining firms from 2015.
“Assuming that things continue the direction they are going with commodity prices, and there is every indication that there will, we will be seeing a large number of new listings,” said Orlee Wertheim, the head of business development for mining at TSX.
However, industry experts said that while there was a marginal improvement of new listings, investors were still cautious and this could affect how many companies actually make it to market.
“In terms of our pipeline, we are definitely seeing more flow of potential transactions,” said Jeff Keating, director at SP Angel Corporate Finance. “There is more interest in mining companies but I don’t believe that it is going to lead to a flood of IPOs or a return to where we were five or six years ago.”
(Story corrects number of Toronto listings this year in eighteenth paragraph.)
(editing by David Stamp)
From virtual reality to programmable bacteria: innovation on display mining
By: Alexandra Posadzki, The Canadian Press
Posted: 03/9/2017 3:01 AM | Last Modified: 03/9/2017 7:05 AM
TORONTO – Programmable bacteria, a gold-sniffing camera and a virtual realitytool for taking investors underground were among the innovations on display at the world’s biggest annual mining convention in Toronto this week.
Their makers say these and other technologies have the potential to reshape the mining industry at every stage — from financing and exploration to extraction and cleaning up sites once the metal is gone.
The Gold Sniffer, a digital camera with a macro lens, a specialized light source and custom-built software with a sophisticated algorithm to detect gold’s unique optical signature, is shown in this undated handout photo. Programmable bacteria, a gold-sniffing camera and a virtual reality tool for taking investors underground were among the innovations on display at the world’s biggest annual mining convention in Toronto this week. Their makers say these and other technologies have the potential to reshape the mining industry at every stage — from financing and exploration to extraction and cleaning up sites once the metal is gone. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO – Gold Sniffer Inc.
Some veterans of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention say such innovation is badly needed in an industry traditionally resistant to change.
“There’s a lot of inertia in our business,” said George Salamis, chairman of Vancouver-based Integra Gold Corp. (TSXV:ICG).
“There’s this mindset that, ‘We’ve been doing this for 100 years, why would we change?’ With new blood coming in, that is changing. But change is slow.”
The mining industry has been on the mend as commodity prices recover from a protracted slump. The downturn made many executives more focused on pruning budgets than investing in technology that might increase efficiency.
But even a small implementation of such products can have a huge effect on margins and operating costs, Salamis noted.
“Mining is certainly ripe for that,” he said.
Encouraging innovation was Integra’s chief aim when it partnered with Goldcorp Inc. to create Disrupt Mining, a Shark Tank-style competition held during the opening day of the convention last Sunday.
Among the five finalists was Sudbury, Ont.-based Bio-Mine Ltd., a company that has spent the past 13 years working with bacteria that can be programmed to break down different types of rock, either to help extract valuable metals or neutralize harmful byproducts when remediating old mines.
While micro-organisms have been used in mining for nearly a century, Bio-Mine CEO Kurtis Vanwallegham says the bacteria previously used were static — “one trick ponies” that can only break down one type of rock in a particular environment.
Bio-Mine’s technology is more versatile, Vanwallegham says. By feeding their bacteria a very specific diet and depriving them of certain things, a process referred to as metabolic engineering, the company is able to program the micro-organisms to target specific substances, regardless of what environment they’re in.
“When you have a programmable technology, the opportunities are limitless,” Vanwallegham says.
Another technology on display at PDAC is the Gold Sniffer. It uses a digital camera, a macro lens, a specialized light source and custom-built software with a sophisticated algorithm to detect gold’s unique optical signature, says Jim Kendall, president of Waterloo, Ont.-based Gold Sniffer Inc.
He first came up with the concept while working at a gold mining company in Toronto in 2009.
“My colleague and I were talking and I went to his desk, picked something up and said, ‘If this was a rock in northern Ontario, how could I tell if there’s gold in it?'” Kendall recalls. “He said, ‘You can’t.'”
Gold particles are often too small for a geologist to see with a hand lens, so the only way to know if a rock sample contains gold is to ship it off to a lab — a process that can take weeks or even months to get results. Kendall says the Gold Sniffer shaves the process down to minutes.
Headsets that allow potential investors to tour a mine site without boarding a plane also proved popular at the convention.
Metaverse, a Toronto-based consulting firm specializing in virtual and augmented reality, says the technology can have vast applications in the mining industry, from training employees on safety protocols to visualizing data on ore deposits.
To date, uptake of the relatively new technology has been slow in the mining sector, says Alan Smithson, the co-founder and CEO of Metaverse.
“It’s a very old business,” Smithson said. “People have been digging stuff out of the ground for thousands of years. It takes time to change that.”
The mining industry strikes something new – optimism
The Globe and Mail
Published Sunday, Mar. 05, 2017 4:45PM EST
Last updated Sunday, Mar. 05, 2017 6:28PM EST
For the first time in years, the global mining industry’s annual extravaganza has rattled into life surrounded by what looks suspiciously like a bull market.
Many commodity prices, from copper to zinc, have rocketed higher in recent months. Share prices have followed suit, and attendees to this year’s Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) convention in downtown Toronto no longer bear the dazed look of accident survivors.
But, even so, the opening day of the industry’s big bash on Sunday still struck a wary tone. Organizers expect 22,000 people to attend the show, which runs through Wednesday. That is roughly the same number as last year, but it is far below the 30,000 who flooded through the doors at the height of the commodity boom in 2011.
In happier times, the convention prided itself on being the spot for both hard-drinking parties and non-stop deal-making. It has become a more sober, restrained affair in recent years as the industry has struggled through a prolonged bleak patch.
Attendees to this year’s convention welcomed signs that the sector’s long ordeal is finally over, but nobody was declaring victory just yet.
“There’s definitely optimism here, but it’s of a cautious sort,” said Paul Robinson, a director at mining consultants CRU Group in London, and a speaker at the conference.
The surprise pick-up in mineral prices in recent months was based largely on China’s unexpected economic vigour, with an assist from U.S. President Donald Trump’s pledge to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure, he said. The problem is that neither the Asian giant nor the U.S. President are a sure bet to keep on giving.
China, which consumes about half the global output of many commodities, remains the biggest uncertainty, Mr. Robinson noted.
He said Beijing’s decision in recent weeks to curtail aluminum production as a way to help ease air pollution is a positive signal because it indicates the Chinese government feels confident enough about the underlying economy to take the risk of throttling back on a key employer.
But skeptics warned that governments in Beijing, Washington and elsewhere are hard to predict. “One common factor for most [metals markets] is the outsized near-term importance of highly uncertain politics and policy,” Rory Johnston of Bank of Nova Scotia cautioned in a note.
Until the global trend becomes clearer, many miners are content to bide their time. However, unlike a year or two ago, when all the emphasis seemed to be on buttressing balance sheets, a growing number of companies are at least considering expansion.
“We’re being asked to talk to clients about a lot of the big projects that were put on hold back in 2012 and 2013,” said Dave Lawson, president of the global mining and metals market for Amec Foster Wheeler, an engineering consultant and project manager. “People are dusting off those projects and taking a new look at them … redoing the calculations and rethinking the economics.”
A slower industry has resulted in cheaper labour and more competitive bids on everything from construction to manufacturing, he said. Thanks to the improving cost picture, Mr. Lawson’s group has shaken hands on – although not yet officially booked – more than $300-million (U.S.) of new business in the first two months of the year, he estimated.
While big players mull a return to megaprojects, many smaller companies are paying an unusual amount of attention to minor metals, such as lithium and cobalt, where the case for buying is less about the global economy and more about technological trends.
Both lithium and cobalt are used in batteries and a host of promoters on the convention floor are delighted to assure passersby that demand for the metals can only climb as smartphones and electric vehicles become more popular.
Visitors who aren’t in the mood to invest in a junior lithium play can check out the comparative merits of a host of mining jurisdictions, from Greenland to Mongolia, that are using the show to pitch their unique virtues.
One of the more intriguing presences at this year’s show is Brazil, which is seeking to reinvigorate its mining sector by cutting red tape and opening up many previously restricted areas to foreign investors.
Fernando Coelho Filho, Brazil’s Minister of Mines and Energy, is in Toronto to talk to miners and assure them that he intends to remove many of the bureaucratic obstacles to winning a mining permit.
“Our bureaucracy has been very tough to go through,” he said. “We know that. And we’re going to improve.”
Feb 27 2017
Full report is HERE
Executive Summary 2016 Mining Survey
This report presents the results of the Fraser Institute’s 2016 annual survey of mining and exploration companies. The survey is an attempt to assess how mineral endowments and public policy factors such as taxation and regulatory uncertainty affect exploration investment. The survey was circulated electronically to approximately 2,700 individuals between August 30th and November 18th, 2016. Survey responses have been tallied to rank provinces, states, and countries according to the extent that public policy factors encourage or discourage mining investment.
A total of 350 responses were received for the survey, providing sufficient data to evaluate 104 jurisdictions. By way of comparison, 109 jurisdictions were evaluated in 2015, 122 in 2014, 112 in 2013, and 96 in 2012. The number of jurisdictions that can be included in the study tends to wax and wane as the mining sector grows or shrinks due to commodity prices and sectoral factors.
The Investment Attractiveness Index takes both mineral and policy perception into consideration
An overall Investment Attractiveness Index is constructed by combining the Best Practices Mineral Potential index, which rates regions based on their geologic attractiveness, and the Policy Perception Index, a composite index that measures the effects of government policy on attitudes toward exploration investment. While it is useful to measure the attractiveness of a jurisdiction based on policy factors such as onerous regulations, taxation levels, the quality of infrastructure, and the other policy related questions respondents answered, the Policy Perception Index alone does not recognize the fact that investment decisions are often sizably based on the pure mineral potential of a jurisdiction. Indeed, as discussed below, respondents consistently indicate that only about 40 percent of their investment decision is determined by policy factors.
The top jurisdiction in the world for investment based on the Investment Attractiveness Index is Saskatchewan, which moved up to first from second place in 2015. Manitoba moved up to second place this year after ranking 19th the previous year. Western Australia dropped to third, after Saskatchewan displaced it as the most attractive jurisdiction in the world. Rounding out the top ten are Nevada, Finland, Quebec, Arizona, Sweden, the Republic of Ireland, and Queensland.
When considering both policy and mineral potential in the Investment Attractiveness Index, the Argentinian province of Jujuy ranks as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world for investment. This year, Jujuy replaced another Argentinian province—La Rioja—as the least attractive jurisdiction in the world. Also in the bottom 10 (beginning with the worst) are Neuquen, Venezuela, Chubut, Afghanistan, La Rioja, Mendoza, India, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
Policy Perception Index: A “report card” to governments on the attractiveness of their mining policies
While geologic and economic considerations are important factors in mineral exploration, a region’s policy climate is also an important investment consideration. The Policy Perception Index (PPI), is a composite index that measures the overall policy attractiveness of the 104 jurisdictions in the survey. The index is composed of survey responses to policy factors that affect investment decisions. Policy factors examined include uncertainty concerning the administration of current regulations, environmental regulations, regulatory duplication, the legal system and taxation regime, uncertainty concerning protected areas and disputed land claims, infrastructure, socioeconomic and community development conditions, trade barriers, political stability, labor regulations, quality of the geological database, security, and labor and skills availability.
For the fourth year in a row, the Republic of Ireland had the highest PPI score of 100. Ireland was followed by Saskatchewan in second, which moved up from 4th in the previous year. Along with Ireland and Saskatchewan, the top 10 ranked jurisdictions are Sweden, Finland, Nevada, Manitoba, Wyoming, New Brunswick, Western Australia, and Northern Ireland, which was included for the first time in the 2016 survey.
The 10 least attractive jurisdictions for investment based on the PPI rankings (starting with the worst) are Venezuela, Afghanistan, Zimbabwe, Mongolia, Philippines, Indonesia, Chubut, South Sudan, Mendoza, and Ecuador. Venezuela, Zimbabwe, and Chubut were all in the bottom 10 jurisdictions last year. Two out of the 10 lowest-rated jurisdictions based on policy were Argentinian provinces.
A return to optimism in mining puts Canada at a crossroads
February 16, 2017
The Canadian Mining Association
To download a copy of Facts & Figures 2016, go HERE
Action needed for Canada to capitalize on potential rebound
Cautious optimism is returning to the global mining industry, which could spur mining companies to make new and significant investments. However, a new report from the Mining Association of Canada (MAC) shows evidence of declining Canadian competitiveness and the prospect for major exploration and mining investments to flow offshore.
“Very simply, Canada is not as attractive as it used to be for mineral investment, and competition for those dollars is growing globally. The recent elimination of federal mining tax incentives, regulatory delays and uncertainty, combined with major infrastructure deficits in northern Canada are all contributing factors that can explain Canada’s declining attractiveness. The time is now to put the right policy pieces in place to better compete for those investments and regain our leadership in mining,” stated Pierre Gratton, President and CEO, MAC.
MAC’s Facts & Figures 2016 report notes several indicators that reveal that Canada is not as competitive as it once was. Foreign direct investment into Canada’s mining sector dropped by more than 50 percent year-over-year in 2015. This is disproportionate to Canadian mining direct investment abroad, which only experienced a 6 percent decline. This imbalance indicates that companies are investing in project development, but may be less interested in doing so in Canada. Canada also no longer attracts the single-largest share of total global mineral exploration spending, having conceded first place to Australia in 2015. Further, no new mining projects entered the federal environmental assessment stage in 2016. If these trends continue, there will be fewer discoveries made and fewer projects that become operational mines in Canada.
“The policy landscape in Canada is full of uncertainty as we await the outcomes of major government decisions. The federal government is reviewing federal environmental legislation, is implementing a pan-Canadian climate change policy, and is working to address long-standing transportation and infrastructure issues. These are all necessary and positive steps, but they must result in boosting Canada’s attractiveness as a place to do business. At risk is a key sector of our economy, and one that leads the world in sustainable mining practices,” stated Gratton.
MAC’s report also revealed the mining industry remained a strong contributor to the Canadian economy despite the downturn in 2015. The industry directly employed more than 370,000 people across Canada and remained the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people on a proportional basis. An additional 190,000 worked indirectly in mining, with more than 3,700 companies supplying goods and services to the Canadian mining industry. In 2015, the mining industry accounted for $56 billion of Canada’s GDP and minerals and metals accounted for 19% of Canadian goods exports.
Policies that improve Canada’s mining competitiveness:
1) Improve the federal project review process – the process should be effective and timely, from pre-environmental assessment (EA) to post-EA permitting, with meaningful consultation with Aboriginal communities.
2) Invest in critical infrastructure in remote and northern regions – introduce strategic tax measures and ensure the new Canada Infrastructure Bank has a strong economic development focus for northern Canada.
3) Improve access to trade – ensure trade policies provide access to new and important markets, including China, and improve Canada’s transportation network to more efficiently move mineral and metal products to market.
4) Address climate change while protecting Canadian businesses – adopt policies that lead to meaningful greenhouse gas emissions while protecting emissions intensive and trade-exposed industries (EITI), like the mining industry. Failing to protect EITI sectors will result in “carbon leakage”—the shifting of production and the associated economic benefits from countries that are taking action on climate to those that are not.
5) Help expedite industry innovation – The Canada Mining Innovation Council is seeking a $50 million investment for the Towards Zero Waste Mining innovation strategy from the Government of Canada to accelerate the adoption of disruptive technologies that will support the transition to a lower carbon future.
To download a copy of Facts & Figures 2016, go HERE
The Mining Association of Canada is the national organization for the Canadian mining industry. Its members account for most of Canada’s production of base and precious metals, uranium, diamonds, metallurgical coal, mined oil sands and industrial minerals and are actively engaged in mineral exploration, mining, smelting, refining and semi-fabrication. Please visit www.mining.ca.
Canada losing ground as mining investment destination
Feb 16, 2017
Source: MAC’s Facts & Figures 2016.
While optimism is slowly but steadily returning to the global mining industry, Canada doesn’t seem to be in a good position to benefit from the increasing number of companies ready to make new and significant investments.
At least that is the conclusion from a report released Thursday by the Mining Association of Canada (MAC), which also warns of the possibility of seeing major exploration and mining investments flow offshore.
“Very simply, Canada is not as attractive as it used to be for mineral investment, and competition for those dollars is growing globally,” MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton said.
Elimination of federal mining tax incentives, regulatory delays, uncertainty and major infrastructure deficits in northern Canada are all contributing to the country’s declining appeal.
The recent elimination of federal mining tax incentives, regulatory delays and uncertainty, combined with major infrastructure deficits in northern Canada are all contributing factors that can explain Canada’s declining attractiveness, Gratton noted.
The report also highlights the policy areas that Canada needs to pay attention to in order to seize future growth opportunities and re-gain its leadership in mining.
Some of the figures included in the report are quite telling. In 2015, foreign direct investment into Canada’s mining industry dropped by more than 50% from the previous year. In contrast, the country’s resources sector direct investment abroad only experienced a 6% decline.
According the industry body, such imbalance proves that Canada no longer attracts the single-largest share of total global mineral exploration spending, a top place it lost to Australia in 2015. Further, MAC says, no new mining projects entered the federal environmental assessment stage in 2016.
If these trends continue, the association warns, there will be fewer discoveries made and fewer projects to become operational mines in Canada.
Despite the challenges, the sector remains a key contributor to the Canadian economy, employing more than 370,000 people across the country and being the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people on a proportional basis.
In 2015, the mining industry accounted for $56 billion of Canada’s GDP and minerals and metals accounted for 19% of Canadian goods exports.
Wall on energy – let’s stop the misrepresentation of this industry and instead focus on continued innovation
From Brad Wall’s Facebook Page:
Some in this country are uncomfortable with our energy sector..as an energy-producing nation, we need to address that.
The world will be primarily dependent on coal, oil and gas for decades. Saskatchewan and Canada is one of the safest and most sustainable producers of that energy.
So let’s stop the misrepresentation of this industry and instead focus on continued innovation to ensure Saskatchewan and Canada are global leaders in supplying energy to a world that needs it.
White House eyeing executive order on ‘conflict minerals’ rule: sources
SARAH N. LYNCH AND EMILY STEPHENSON
WASHINGTON — Reuters
Published Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2017 8:19AM EST
Last updated Wednesday, Feb. 08, 2017 8:21AM EST
President Donald Trump is planning to issue an executive order targeting a controversial Dodd-Frank rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products contain “conflict minerals” from a war-torn part of Africa, according to sources familiar with the administration’s thinking.
Reuters could not learn the precise timing of when the order will be issued, or exactly what it will say.
However, the 2010 Dodd-Frank law explicitly gives the president authority to order the Securities and Exchange Commission to temporarily suspend or revise the rule for two years if it is in the national security interest of the United States.
The sources spoke anonymously because it is not public and they were not authorized to speak on the record.
The plan for the executive order comes on the heels of another order issued by the White House last week that takes aim more broadly at the Dodd-Frank rules put into place after the 2007-2009 financial crisis.
That order did not single out any one particular rule, but it called on the Treasury Secretary to consult with other regulators, including the SEC, and to come back with a report outlining possible regulatory changes and legislation.
The conflict minerals rule is one of several disclosure regulations that was tucked into Dodd-Frank that are unrelated to the financial crisis itself.
A second Dodd-Frank SEC disclosure rule that required oil, gas and mining companies to disclose payments to foreign governments, meanwhile, was repealed by the Republican-controlled Congress last week.
The conflict minerals rule was pushed by human rights groups who want companies to tell investors if their products contain tantalum, tin, gold or tungsten mined from the Democratic Republic of Congo, in the hopes it will help curb the funding of armed groups.
But business groups have staunchly opposed the measure, saying it forces companies to furnish politically-charged information that is irrelevant to making investment decisions.
They have also complained it costs too much money for companies to trace the source of the minerals through the supply chain.
In 2014, a U.S. appeals court struck down a part of the conflict minerals law after the Business Roundtable, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers sued the SEC over the rule.
The court found part of it violated the free speech rights of companies by forcing them to publicly state that their products are not conflict free.
The rest of the rule, however, remained intact and companies are still required to carry out due diligence and report the details of those inquiries in public reports filed with the SEC.
The SEC cannot permanently repeal the rule without a law passed by Congress. However, it can use its broad exemptive powers to scale back some of the requirements or stop enforcing the rule entirely.
Last week, Acting SEC Chair Michael Piwowar took steps toward doing just that, by announcing he has asked SEC staff to reconsider how companies should comply with it and whether “additional relief” is warranted.
Piwowar did not explicitly ask Trump to utilize his powers under Dodd-Frank to temporality suspend the rule; however, in his statement, he spoke about how he had traveled to Africa to study the rule’s impact and raised concerns about its effect on national security
Liberals know how much its carbon tax will cost consumers — but won’t tell you
David Akin | February 6, 2017 | Last Updated: Feb 7 8:22 AM ET
OTTAWA — Federal finance department officials have calculated how much more Canadian households could pay each year as a result of a pending federal carbon tax but neither the department nor Finance Minister Bill Morneau will share those details.
Morneau is being challenged in Parliament by Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre to publish that information while Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall, who, like Poilievre, is an opponent of a federal carbon tax, has been challenging Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to do the same.
Both men say they believe the Trudeau government should provide Canadians with information about the financial consequences to individual households of the pending carbon tax.
For his part, Poilievre, who served as a minister in Stephen Harper’s notoriously disclosure-averse cabinet, has been using federal access to information laws as well as his prerogative as a member of Parliament to compel the government to disclose the cost of carbon taxes to Canadian households.
In the House of Commons Monday, Poilievre pressed Morneau to table that information.
“The measure of a society is how it treats its most vulnerable. That is why I asked how it is this carbon tax will impact on the poorest Canadians,” Poilievre said during question period. “At first, the government said, ‘No such data exists’. Then it said, ‘It exists; we just don’t want to tell you what it is.’ That is the current position of the government, that it wants to keep secret from Canadians, the most vulnerable Canadians, those with the least, the impact of this heavy new carbon tax on heat, hydro, gas and electricity.”
Trudeau has told provinces that they must, by 2018, put a price on carbon at a level high enough that they can help Canada achieve its international commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But he has also said on numerous occasions that he expects provinces to use whatever revenue they generate by pricing carbon to be turned back to the citizens of that province to help offset any increase in the prices of goods or services.
One of the documents Poilievre received under federal access-to-information laws is an internal finance department memo written on Oct. 20, 2015, in which the department tries to figure out the financial impact of a federal carbon tax on different kinds of voters.
The memo, titled “Impact of a carbon price on households’ consumption costs across the income distribution” was written by Jean-François Perreault. Perreault was then an assistant deputy minister at Finance Canada. He left the finance department in the spring of 2016 to join Scotiabank as its chief economist.
Much of Perreault’s memo, a copy of which was provided to the National Post by Poilievre’s office, has been heavily redacted by government censors.
But Perreault is crystal clear on this point: Pricing carbon, be it through a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system, will hit consumers in the pocketbook.
“These higher costs (which) would then cascade through the economy in the form of higher prices, thus leading all firms and consumers to pay more for good and services with higher carbon content.”
In the memo, Perreault prepared a table that laid out several different carbon pricing scenarios and, for each scenario, assessed how it would affect the value of all Canadian economic activity; how much revenue would be produced for governments; and how many fewer megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions would be genereated in each scenario. All the numbers, though, in that table were blacked out.
Poilievre tried to get the same information through a parliamentary procedure known as an Order Paper Question but, again, the data Poilievre was seeking was blacked out.
Wall, the Saskatchewan premier, said in December that Trudeau’s carbon tax could cost the average Canadian family as much as $1,250 a year in higher prices for everything from groceries to gasoline.
He, too, has asked the federal government to release its calculations and estimates of the costs of a federal carbon tax.
Infographic: Where Canada sits in the global spectrum of energy development
By Darrell Stonehouse
Feb. 2, 2017, 2:38 p.m.
In Natural Resources Canada’s latest Energy Fact Book, the government department ranks Canada against other nations in the world in a number of energy industries.
This includes crude oil, natural gas, coal, uranium, renewables and electricity—based on proved reserve or capacity, production and exports in 2015.
Here’s how Canada stacks up.