Category Archives: other minerals
Sask. mining rescue crews showcase emergency response skills
By Rebekah Lesko
June 4, 2017
Mining rescue crews from across the province showcased their skills at the Saskatchewan Mine Rescue Skills Competition.
Mining crews from across Saskatchewan came to Saskatoon to show off their emergency response skills.
Teams from potash, coal, uranium and gold mines showcased their rescue skills in simulated scenarios.
If anyone knows how important emergency response training is, it’s Rod Greve.
Greve worked at the Lanigan potash mine for over 40 years and said they are there to help their fellow miners should the need ever arise.
“They want someone to be trained. It’s a highly dedicated group of people from all the mines that get together here,” said GREVE, who is a judge at the 49th annual Saskatchewan Mine Rescue Skills Competition.
“This training improves our community, our teams, our co-workers, everyone benefits from it.”
From fire, to first aid, the competition tests miner’s skills for future emergencies, skills that are even more important in remote regions.
“We need to have to have our own emergency response teams available because resources aren’t available like medical aid or ambulances and fire trucks, we don’t have the communities right next to us,” Camille Pouteaux, a Cameco Key Lake team member, said.
“Having the ability to offer rescue services at the sites are very important.”
New project aims to extract rare earth elements from uranium tailings
ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: June 5, 2017 | Last Updated: June 5, 2017 6:00 AM CST
Saskatchewan Research Council mineral division head Bryan Schreiner says a new pilot project to remove rare earth elements from uranium tailings could have significant benefits for the province. KAYLE NEIS / SASKATOON
New technology under development in Saskatoon could make it profitable for Saskatchewan-based mining companies to extract “significant” quantities of rare earth elements from uranium tailings solution that would otherwise go to waste.
The parallel processes being piloted by Saskatchewan Research Council (SRC), which started work on the project three years ago, involve concentrating the tailings solution and then using “cells” containing mixers to separate out each of the rare earth elements.
“It’s good for our uranium companies and it’s good for the province,” said Bryan Shreiner, who heads SRC’s minerals division. “And in terms of value for Canada and the rest of the world, rare earths are in demand.”
Rare earth elements are used to improve alloys and manufacture consumer electronics and other products. While the 17 elements are relatively abundant, they are difficult to produce because they almost never appear in significant concentrations.
SRC’s technology, the product of about three years’ work, could not only ease China’s stranglehold on the global market for rare earths, but make extracting the elements much cheaper than setting up a dedicated facility, Schreiner said.
“The value of the elements is quite high. And the other value proposition here is you’ve already crushed and ground and dissolved the material (to get uranium) so you don’t have to do that for the rare earths.”
Schreiner said funding for the project comes from the Crown corporation’s innovation fund. According to its latest annual report, SRC turned revenues of just under $70 million into $484 million in “direct economic benefits” for the province.
It remains unclear, however, if companies invested in the uranium sector will adopt the technology.
Saskatchewan’s uranium industry has been badly hurt by plummeting prices, the result of collapsing demand in the wake of the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. It remains unclear if any will choose to invest limited capital in the new technology.
Cameco Corp. spokesman Gord Struthers said in an email that while the project is “very preliminary,” the Saskatoon-based uranium mining company has discussed the possibilities with SRC and is considering whether it can “take it further.”
“It’s an interesting idea that could add additional value to our milling operations,” Struthers wrote.
Schreiner said while challenges remain — SRC is comfortable with the separation process but needs to refine its technique for concentrating the tailings solution — there is little doubt Saskatchewan firms would find a market for rare earth elements.
However, “It has to be tried and tested because the companies aren’t really interested in something unless it’s pretty secure and pretty reliable.”
Top Miner Sees ‘Huge Demand’ Boost from China’s New Silk Road
by David Stringer
May 31, 2017, 9:43 PM CST June 1, 2017, 12:31 AM CST
- Projects to add about 150 million tons of steel demand: BHP
- Producer says has lifted force majeure on Escondida copper
Read about Belt Road Project HERE
China’s multi-billion dollarBelt and Road Initiative can deliver a major boost for commodities and will add about 150 million tons to global steel demand, according to BHP Billiton Ltd., the world’s largest miner.
The plan to develop infrastructure and rebuild ancient trading routes from China to Europe overland and by sea has seen projects initiated worth about $1.3 trillion, according to Melbourne-based BHP, the biggest exporter of coking coal and the third-largest iron ore supplier. Investments worth $313 billion to $502 billion could be funneled to 62 Belt-Road countries over the next five years, Credit Suisse Group AG said last month.
“Everywhere where we see the infrastructure being built, on the back of that there will be economic development that will trigger copper demand, which will trigger energy demand,” BHP’s Chief Commercial Officer Arnoud Balhuizen told reporters Thursday in Melbourne. “Steel produced in China will be used along the road, and that of course is good for demand for our commodities.”
BHP on Thursday lifted force majeure restrictions at Chile’s Escondida copper mine, where workers carried out a 44-day strike earlier this year, Balhuizen told reporters. Coking coal sales continue to be subject to restrictions following a cyclone in Australia in March, he said.
The producer declined 0.7 percent to A$23.73 on Thursday in Sydney, extending its decline this year to 5.3 percent.
The “One Belt One Road” initiative promises “huge demand for resources, services and technology,” and is “an opportunity like no other,” Balhuizen said earlier in a speech. BHP gets about 43 percent of full-year revenue from China and a total of at least 68 percent from Asia, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
China’s plan, lauded by President Xi Jinping as a “project of the century,” has the potential to generate about 120 million tons of crude steel demand, according to Citigroup Inc. Increased appetite from infrastructure will support steel even as there’s a slowdown in China’s housing sector, Templeton Emerging Markets Group Executive Chairman Mark Mobius said last month in an interview.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans for rural electrification, which aim to supply power to every citizen by 2019, and the drive to provide more affordable housing, will also boost commodities and are likely to “have a material impact on demand for coal, iron ore, copper and petroleum,” Balhuizen said in his speech.
BHP sees global demand for potash growing at 2 percent to 3 percent a year through 2030, as the world’s population rises and crop demand swells by 50 percent by 2050, he said. BHP may seek board approval for its Jansen potash project in Canada as early as next June, the producer said last month.
Chinese Spending Lures Countries to Its Belt and Road Initiative
By Bloomberg News
May 10, 2017
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s plan to revive an ancient trade route connecting the Middle Kingdom, Central Asia and Europe has morphed into a sweeping campaign to boost global trade and economic growth. While globalization is losing public support in the U.S. and Europe, Xi’s“Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) has met with increasing acceptance from both developing and developed countries hoping to cash in on Chinese largesse.
Hundreds of leaders and dignitaries from 110 participant countries will gather at a summit in Beijing this month to discuss the grand plan. Countries along the routes account for 16 percent of the global economy today and about a fifth of global trade. But with about 43 percent of the world’s population, China is betting that’s set to increase.
Indeed, China’s outreach seems to have no geographic limits, with New Zealand and South Africa among those to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with China to jump on the “Belt and Road” bandwagon.
From Bangladesh to Belarus, railways, refineries, bridges, industrial parks and much else is being built. In Colombo, a new city larger than Monaco is taking shape near Sri Lanka’s main port. With an estimated total investment of $13 billion spanning about 25 years, the new city is shaping up as the poster child for the China’s grand plan.
A freight route linking China’s eastern coast and London has already started operating. Stretching over 12,000 kilometers and passing through nine countries, the railway allows cargo to travel across the Eurasia continent in 18 days.
But it’s not going to be all good news, if history is any guide. From Africa to Latin America, China has a checkered history when it comes to its foreign investments. In Venezuela, a high-speed railway project was abandoned. The Latin American country, also one of the largest recipients of Chinese lending, defaulted last year on a payment of principal in an oil-for-loan program due to a mounting economic crisis at home.
Even in Myanmar, where demand for Chinese money to develop infrastructure is huge, a $3.6 billion dam project was halted after local protests over environment concerns.
Doubters claim the “Belt and Road Initiative” is all about China exporting its industrial overcapacity and seeking to generate new contracts for its bloated state-owned industries or worse, forcing more and more neighbors into its strategic orbit. Optimists see Chinese investment unlocking economic growth across a vast region with a young population. For Xi, this month’s summit is a chance to persuade a skeptical world that globalization indeed does have a new champion.
Mobilizing for Canada’s energy future: The devil is in the details
DOUGLAS RUTH AND DANIEL MUZYKA
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Tuesday, May 30, 2017 4:24PM EDT
Last updated Tuesday, May 30, 2017 4:26PM EDT
Dr. Douglas W. Ruth is president of The Canadian Academy of Engineering.
In recent years, we have experienced a growing international consensus on the need to create a low-carbon future in order to mitigate major climatic changes that will impact economies and societies worldwide. While some remain skeptical, 195 governments came together and committed to a goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Although there are conflicting interpretations of what would be required, a widely used measure is an 80-per-cent reduction from 1990 levels by 2050.
The Canadian Academy of Engineering and The Conference Board of Canada came together to ask the following questions that arose from the Trottier Energy Futures Project, including:
- What are the implications for the economy of achieving those objectives?
- What does it mean for Canada and Canadians?
After several years of analysis, we now have initial answers to these and other questions, which we shared at a recent conference on reshaping energy.
Is it technically feasible to reduce GHG emissions by 80 per cent? The short answer is “almost.” The Trottier Project developed a number of technical scenarios, and the closest it could get to was a 70-per-cent reduction. However, this belies the scale of the undertaking. If we are to achieve meaningful success (something that has largely evaded earlier climate change-related objectives), we need to move quickly from a discussion of aspirational goals to a general understanding of the economic and social implications, and the consensus, action and investment required.
The realities of the move to a low-carbon economy became apparent in our latest analysis.
First, achieving even half of the proposed objectives will require a transformation in how we live, build, travel and do business. Lifestyle expectations must and will change. The evolution to a true low-carbon economy and society is not a 30-year transition, but a 50-to-100-year transformation. Along the way, there will be winners and losers , and all of us will be involved – voluntarily or otherwise.
The second observation we make from our work is that small increments in carbon taxes have a limited impact on CO2 emissions. A carbon tax will have little overall impact on economic growth, provided governments recycle the increased revenue wisely. Our analysis shows that if the price of carbon is the only tool used, it would need to rise well above the levels of what governments are currently implementing to drive the economy to meet the objectives.
This leads us to our third observation. Achieving the goals will require a major, thoughtful rebuilding of our energy, industrial and transportation systems, as well as the built urban environment. It will take time and will require major new research and capital investment – in the order of $2-trillion to $3-trillion between now and 2050, or equal to 30 per cent to 50 per cent of annual non-residential business capital investment in Canada. Despite the positive economic effects, this level of low-carbon investment will crowd out other priorities and reshape options for growth and development.
Fourth, successful implementation will require massive electrification and the full and appropriate use of all available clean-energy technologies and policy tools. There must also be the sober recognition that existing technologies generally evolve at a predictable pace. An east-west power grid is an essential feature of any solution.
To undertake these new energy projects, we also have to foster unprecedented political agreement and administrative alignment. Indigenous rights, individual beliefs and causes and regional differences need to be respected and recognized. Achieving our goals will be severely impeded if these issues result in protracted legal battles and regulatory reviews.
Finally, Canada cannot proceed in isolation. We need to take account of developments outside our borders in order to maintain our competitiveness. While taking advantage of our natural resources, we need to be flexible and attentive enough to build on developments in other countries. Although global companies and larger national players will have a bigger impact on the cost and development of new energy technologies and approaches, 35 million Canadians can make a difference.
We need to move from ideals and aspirations to a sober discussion of pathways and hard choices if we are to achieve our low-carbon goals. History has shown that strong proponents need the conversation if they are to avoid disillusionment in the broader population.
NEWS RELEASE 17-96
Western Provinces to Lead Economic Growth In 2017
Ottawa, May 29, 2017—Alberta and Saskatchewan are expected to emerge out of recession and lead the provinces in economic growth this year, according to The Conference Board of Canada’s Provincial Outlook: Spring 2017. British Columbia is forecast to see growth ease this year, but the province will still tie with Saskatchewan for second place.
“The difficulties in the resources sector are slowly dissipating and helping Alberta and Saskatchewan emerge out of recession. However, the turnaround is still in its early stages and a full recovery will take time,” said Marie-Christine Bernard, Associate Director, Provincial Forecast, The Conference Board of Canada. “Economic prospects are also improving across the country, but continued weakness in business investment—both in and out of the resources sector—could hurt economic growth in all provinces down the road.”
- Alberta will have the fastest growing provincial economy this year, with real GDP forecast to increase by 3.3 per cent.
- Saskatchewan and British Columbia’s economy will tie for second place, both expected to grow at 2.5 per cent this year.
- With the exception of Newfoundland and Labrador, all provinces will see their economy expand this year.
Following two years of contractions, Alberta’s economy is expected to outperform all provinces and grow by 3.3 per cent this year. Non-conventional oil production in the province will see a big increase this year thanks to new capacity coming online, while energy investment is expected to make a comeback this year and next. Outside of the energy sector, Alberta is benefiting from improvements in labour markets, consumer demand, and the housing sector. A bright outlook for the province’s manufacturing sector as a result of the new Sturgeon refinery, along with the rebuilding efforts in Fort McMurray, will also contribute to Alberta’s strong economic growth this year.
Saskatchewan’s economy is on a more solid foundation than it was one year ago. The energy outlook is more positive as drilling bounced back last winter and oil production is expected to increase at a good pace over the near term. As well, adaptation to the low-oil-price environment has led to growing investment into cost-effective thermal extraction technology, which will provide a significant boost to construction over the next three years. The province’s labour markets are also starting to turn around, boosting growth in household spending. In all, Saskatchewan’s economy is forecast to grow by 2.5 per cent in 2017.
After growing by 3.7 per cent in 2016, real GDP growth in British Columbia is expected to reach 2.5 per cent in 2017. British Columbia’s housing market has lost some steam, but has proven to be more resilient to cooling measures. Still, the slowdown in housing activity will be felt in other parts of the provincial economy. Employment, wages, and household spending are all expected to see growth ease. The province’s forestry industry will also struggle over the near term as it deals with the duties on Canadian softwood lumber.
Ontario’s economy will continue to perform well, but it is forecast to lose some speed and grow by 2.3 per cent in 2017. Consumer finances are stretched and the hot housing market in southern Ontario is expected to cool as the new measures to re-balance the market take place. Exports have been growing at a stronger pace than the national average, but the lack of business investment will limit growth prospects going forward.
Manitoba’s economy is forecast to expand by a solid 2.1 per cent in 2017, slightly lower than last year’s growth. The province will continue to see strong construction activity as investment in the Keeyask dam ramps up and work continues on the Bipole III transmission line. Manufacturing will remain a growth driver for the province, with bright spots in transportation, equipment manufacturing and food processing.
Quebec saw an improvement in economic growth last year and this will continue in 2017, with real GDP forecast to advance by 1.8 per cent this year. Consumer spending will continue to be one of the pillars of growth for the province, as tax cuts and strong job creation leave Quebeckers with more spending money in 2017. This, in turn, will provide a boost to the province’s services-based industries. However, the probability that greater protectionist measures will be put in place in the U.S. in the coming years presents a significant downside risk to the province’s export outlook.
The Atlantic provinces will see only modest expansion over the next two years as they deal with an aging population that is limiting growth in labour supply.
Newfoundland and Labrador will be only province in recession this year, contracting by 3.0 per cent. However, the province will benefit from oil production at the Hebron project starting next year and real GDP is forecast to bounce back strongly.
Nova Scotia’s outlook is among the weakest in Canada, forecast to advance by only 0.5 per cent this year. Although ongoing shipbuilding work in Halifax is providing a boost to the manufacturing sector, the province’s construction industry is facing declines over the next two years as major projects are completed and there are few major investments on the horizon.
Despite New Brunswick’s goods-producing sector facing better prospects over the next two years, weak business investment and shifting demographics will limit GDP growth to 1.0 per cent this year.
Prince Edward Island has the best growth prospects among the Atlantic provinces, with real GDP forecast to expand by 1.8 per cent in 2017. The Island’s economy is being bolstered by tourism as well as by a strong performance in the manufacturing sector, especially in the food products and in aerospace services.
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Jessica Theriault elected first woman to head Sask. Mining Association
ALEX MACPHERSON, SASKATOON STARPHOENIX
Published on: May 26, 2017 | Last Updated: May 26, 2017 3:19 PM CST
The headframe at Mosaic Co.’s newly-expanded K3 mine near Esterhazy. TROY FLEECE / REGINA LEADER-POST
The association representing Saskatchewan’s potash and uranium miners has for the first time in its 52-year history elected a woman as its chair.
Members of the Saskatchewan Mining Association (SMA) elected Mosaic Co. environmental affairs director Jessica Theriault for a two-year term, the organization said in a news release.
Theriault replaces Cameco Corp. chairman Neil McMillan and will serve alongside Tammy Van Lambalgen, Areva Resources Canada Inc. vice president of corporate affairs.
“Given the importance of mining to the Saskatchewan and Canadian economies … my focus as Chair will be to ensure that we continue to deliver, but also drive improvements across the sector,” Theriault said in a statement.
The SMA said in a news release that the election of Theriault and Van Lambalgen “represents a significant milestone in signalling the growing leadership role of women in mining.”
While gender imbalance in the province’s mining industry remains significant, groups like the SMA and Women in Mining and Women in Nuclear Saskatchewan are working to change that.
Theriault, who holds an engineering degree and MBA from the University of Regina, has almost two decades of experience in the potash industry and oversees Mosaic’s potash business unit.
Ukraine says no to Russian coal, gas – favours nuclear power
May 22, 2017
Pereyaslovskiy coal mine in Russian Krasnoyarsk territory.
In spite of a blockade on shipments of anthracite coal from occupied Donbas to Ukrainian thermal power plants (TPPs) since this past winter, the country has thus far avoided blackouts. Moreover, Ukraine has managed to increase power generation by 2.1 percent year over year in January–April (Interfax-Ukraine, May 13). This was mainly thanks to heavy reliance on nuclear energy, but warm weather and lower consumption by industry also helped. Ahead of the next heating season, which kicks off in October, Ukraine is going to replace Donbas-sourced anthracite with imported coal, while also converting its thermal power plants to use alternative fuels.
Ukrainian nationalists began to block roads leading into the Moscow-backed so-called Donetsk and Luhansk “people’s republics” (DPR, LPR) at the end of January, protesting against what they saw as profiteering from the war by Ukrainian tycoon Rinat Akhmetov at consumers’ expense (see EDM, February 24, 28). They claimed that the government agreed to pay for coal extracted at Akhmetov’s mines, located in the Russia-controlled areas, according to the so-called Rotterdam-plus formula, so it was as expensive as if it were shipped from the Netherlands (Zn.ua, February 17). Because of the blockade, Ukrainian TPPs were left without anthracite from the DPR and LPR territories, and the government warned in February that almost a third of Ukraine would face blackouts by April. Still, the protests gained momentum, and in March Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko banned all cargo traffic with the occupied eastern territories. As a result, five out of the six Ukrainian TPPs that used to burn anthracite stopped operations in April (see EDM, March 29).
But even with many of its TPPs offline, Ukraine was not plunged into blackouts, thanks to a combination of factors. February and March were unusually warm, so less coal was used for heating. Industry also consumed less power because the Donbas blockade not only affected power generation, but also subdued output in metallurgy and the engineering industry. For example, after growth last year and in January, metal production plunged year on year by 4.3 percent in February and by 2.2 percent in March (Ukrstat.gov.ua, accessed on May 16). Also, thermal power was partially replaced with nuclear power, so the share of nuclear plants in power generation jumped from 52 percent in 2016 to 57 percent in January–April (Interfax, May 15). However, Ukraine cannot continue to heavily rely on nuclear reactors, as it will be necessary to shut them down for scheduled maintenance later in the year. Meanwhile, domestic power consumption is likely to grow, as the economy continues to expand.
To remedy this situation, Ukraine plans to increase coal imports, while adapting its TPPs to use lower-quality G-grade coal, which is extracted outside the occupied areas and can be easily imported, in place of anthracite. The Ukrainian government does not want to increase coal imports from Russia on principle, because of the war, so Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman suggested buying coal from as far as the United States, South Africa and Australia (Ukrinform.ua, March 21). However, that might be prohibitively expensive, given the transportation costs involved.
On April 25, Sakhnakhshiri, a company based across the Black Sea in Georgia, won a tender to deliver 700,000 tons of coal to Ukraine to the state company Tsentrenergo, which runs two of the five power plants stopped due to the coal shortage. Sakhnakhshiri is to deliver coal to Ukraine in May–December. However, there have been doubts about this supplier, showing the pitfalls Ukraine may encounter while looking for a replacement to Donbas anthracite. Sakhnakhshiri faced only one competitor in the tender, a little-known firm registered in Poland but linked to a Ukrainian citizen, whose bid price was only $38 higher than Sakhnakhshiri’s. So there was little or no competition (Liga.net, April 26). Furthermore, Georgia’s former president Mikheil Saakashvili said on his Facebook page on April 27 that Sakhnakhshiri might end up buying coal for Ukraine in Russia, and he questioned the transparency of the deal. Georgia, said Saakashvili, could not produce so much coal of the quality asked by Tsentrenergo. Coal bought from Russia may turn out to be coal that was originally shipped to Russia by the DPR-LPR authorities.
Meanwhile, both the government and Akhmetov’s DTEK, Ukraine’s biggest private energy company, are working to convert their TPPs to G-grade coal. DTEK CEO Maksym Tymchenko said in an interview that one of his firm’s TPPs was currently being converted, and conversion of another plant was already planned (Epravda.com.ua, April 27). DTEK also began to buy anthracite from South Africa (Dtek.com, April 13). Energy Minister Ihor Nasalyk told a recent government meeting that power units at two of Tsentrenergo’s TPPs would use G-grade coal by the end of 2017. Along with the construction of new power transmission lines from nuclear plants and new hydropower units, this should allow Ukraine to replace about four million tons of Donbas anthracite in power generation, Kyiv hopes (Mpe.kmu.gov.ua, April 26).
Ukraine has learned to survive without natural gas purchases from Russia’s Gazprom (see EDM, February 11, 2016). This year, it is learning to live without coal from the areas controlled by Russia-backed militants. This is vital for Ukraine’s highly energy-dependent industry, which is expected to increase production this year, supporting GDP growth for the second year in a row, after deep recession in 2014–2015.
By The Jamestown Foundation
Liberals release carbon-tax plan, brace for legal battle with Saskatchewan
OTTAWA — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:37PM EDT
Last updated Thursday, May 18, 2017 12:43PM EDT
Preparing for a promised legal battle with Saskatchewan, federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna says she’s confident Ottawa has the authority to impose a carbon price across the country, even when that levy would apply to provincially owned utilities.
The minister on Thursday released a technical paper on Ottawa’s proposed carbon tax, which will apply in provinces where premiers refused to adopt their own plan, or add to provincial levies where provincial governments adopt carbon-pricing programs that do not meet minimum federal standards.
In an interview, Ms. McKenna said the federal government is on “very strong ground” constitutionally, despite Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall’s argument that its carbon-pricing plan would intrude on provincial jurisdiction, especially as it relates to government-owned SaskPower, which relies heavily on coal for its electricity generation.
“If they are imposing this tax, our response is ‘see you in court,’” a spokeswoman for Mr. Wall said in an e-mail. Saskatchewan is the only province that refuses to consider a carbon price – whether a tax or cap-and-trade approach – but several others have not committed to meeting Ottawa’s minimum pricing standards.
Ms. McKenna said the federal government has clear authority to regulate on cross-border environmental matters in order to reduce pollution. She said all revenue would be returned to the province in which it is collected, and added the government is considering providing direct rebates to households and business to offset the impact of rising energy costs.
“This is not a tax; this is a levy and the revenue is going back into the province,” the federal minister said. “As the federal government, we need to be taking action to protect the environment and it is well within our jurisdiction to do so. But we hope Saskatchewan will design a system that works best for them.”
Under the federal plan, either Ottawa or provincial governments that have no pricing system would introduce the carbon levy next year, beginning at $10 per tonne and rising to $50 per tonne by 2022. A $50 per tonne carbon price would add 11.6-cents per litre of gasoline, and would also hit natural gas, and electricity generated from coal or natural gas.
Provinces can also opt to adopt a cap-and-trade plan, which keeps prices lower because companies can purchase cheaper “allowances” from California. Alberta and British Columbia have carbon taxes, while Ontario and Quebec have cap-and-trade systems that require fuel distribution companies to purchase permits, the cost of which get passed along in the price of gasoline and home heating fuel.
The paper released Tuesday proposes a hybrid carbon levy, similar to one adopted in Alberta.
Fuel distributors would have to collect the tax from consumers. Farmers would be exempt from paying the tax on fuel used in farm operations, while Ottawa is still considering how to cover fuel used on interprovincial flights within Canada. International flights are covered by an industry-wide cap-and-trade plan.
In order to protect competitiveness, Ottawa would only tax a small portion of emissions from large industrial plants that consume a lot of fossil fuels and face global competition. As in Alberta, the amount of the levy would depend on how emissions-intensive a company is compared to others in its sector, with more-efficient operators getting a bigger break.
Conservative politicians have attacked the Liberal carbon-price plan as an unwelcome burden that will make the country less competitive, particularly as President Donald Trump and the Republican-led Congress promise deregulation and tax cuts in the United States.
Ms. McKenna said carbon pricing is the most economically efficient way to reduce emissions that cause climate change, a view that has been endorsed by some prominent business leaders, including executives from Canada’s biggest oil sands producers. She noted many major economies – including the European Union, Mexico, China and California – are moving forward on carbon levies.
“Everyone realizes you want to put a price on pollution because pollution isn’t free,” Ms. McKenna said. “We know it’s causing droughts, fires and floods, and that our Arctic is melting in our country, and across the world. And also pollution has a very significant impacts on our health.
“And if you’re going to have a serious climate plan, you need to put prices on pollution because it also creates the incentive for companies to innovate and provide clean solutions, and provides certainty to business that we’re serious about moving to a cleaner economy.”
Ottawa to explain how it will impose a carbon tax on provinces today
By The Canadian Press
May 18, 2017 – 7:16am
OTTAWA — Provinces have until the end of 2018 to introduce a price on carbon or Ottawa will impose its own model instead, a technical paper on the federal carbon-pricing scheme will say today.
Environment Minister Catherine McKenna will make public the paper, which proposes to give provinces three options for pricing carbon: legislate their own levy on emissions starting at $10 a tonne, legislate their own cap-and-trade system which can show it will produce equivalent cuts in emissions as a carbon tax, or use a hybrid model largely based on Alberta’s program which Ottawa will impose itself.
The carbon tax, or cap-and-trade equivalent, will have to go up by $10 a year, rising to $50 a tonne by the end of 2022.
McKenna will accept public comments on the paper and intends to introduce legislation in the fall.
The plan is part of the Pan Canadian Framework for Clean Growth and Climate Change. Canada has agreed to cut its emissions to 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030. That requires a reduction of almost 200 million tonnes of carbon-equivalent emissions in 13 years, or the equivalent of taking every car in Canada off the road, twice.
Dale Marshall, national program manager at Environmental Defence, said a carbon price helps get there but it is not “a panacea.” He said it’s frustrating so much attention is focused on the carbon tax when no government anywhere has implemented a carbon price high enough to cut emissions as much as they need to be cut.
“Hopefully, people will stay engaged on things like a clean fuel standard, methane regulations, a zero net energy building code and a zero emission vehicle strategy, et cetera,” he said. “All are needed.”
The framework does include some of those measures, although the government recently delayed its methane regulations. A discussion paper on clean fuel standards was released earlier this year.
Marshall said carbon prices contribute to emissions reductions by encouraging people and companies to change their behaviour.
University of Calgary economics professor Jennifer Winter wrote a blog last week suggesting at $10 a tonne, households will pay an additional $121 a year in B.C., and up to $224 more in Nova Scotia. At $50 a tonne, those costs rise to $603 in B.C. and $1,120 in Nova Scotia. People in provinces with larger renewable sources of electricity will pay less.
All of that assumes no behavioural changes such as driving less, buying a more fuel-efficient car or upgrading home insulation and windows.
Mitch LaBuick, an indirect tax specialist at BDO Canada, said it’s hard to truly know how much a carbon tax raises prices. He said in Alberta, the price at the pump didn’t immediately go up 4.5 cents a litre on Jan. 1, when the new carbon levy came into effect. Market forces such as business decisions on profit margins and competition, can determine how much higher a price will go, he said.
However, he said taxing carbon to change behaviour is not a new concept, noting governments have for years used taxes on cigarettes to help encourage people to quit smoking.
The Alberta carbon-price model includes a direct tax on most transportation and heating fuels and a type of cap-and-trade for large industrial emitters. Alberta returns some money directly to low and middle-income Albertans through rebate cheques and puts the rest into small business tax cuts, renewable energy production and other climate change mitigation projects.
Saskatchewan and Manitoba are the most likely candidates for having the federal carbon-price scheme imposed on them. B.C. and Alberta have carbon taxes, Ontario and Quebec have cap-and-trade systems and Nova Scotia intends to create a cap-and-trade system in 2018. The other Atlantic provinces are looking at whether to join Nova Scotia’s plan or go it alone.
Manitoba intends to introduce a climate change strategy later this year, but hasn’t committed yet to including a price on carbon.
Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall is the loudest opponent to a carbon tax and has threatened to sue Ottawa to prevent it from being imposed on his province.
Mia Rabson, The Canadian Press
©2017 The Canadian Press