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Mining Association of Canada throws support behind carbon pricing

On April 13, the Mining Association of Canada released a statementsupporting the adoption of carbon prices to address climate change.

"A broad-based carbon price is the most effective and efficientmeans to influence the investment and operating decisions that drive real emissionreductions and innovations from all sectors of an economy," the industry organizationsaid in its newly released "Principles for climate change policy design."

The policy brief calls for the establishment of a carbon pricingprogram that synchronizes provincial, federal and international regulations, andapplies to all sectors of the economy equally. MAC also calls for revenues generatedby the carbon pricing method to be put toward programs that will aid non-green sectorsto produce less carbon.

The industry body also calls on the government to ensure thatindustries working to reduce their carbon footprint are not unfairly penalized bythe market for doing so.

The most effective carbon pricing regime would be one that, inaddition to adhering to existing measures, also takes into consideration the totalcost burdens for industries to comply with the carbon pricing scheme as well aswhether the program lowers emissions without excessive costs.

"We're calling for a carbon price because we think it'sthe most effective way to send a signal to everyone who uses energy is to actuallyput a price on it," MAC President and CEO Pierre Gratton told SNL Metals &Mining on April 13.

"Energy is a significant proportion of mining costs, upwardsof 30% to 35% of operational costs, so the industry has always had an interest inimproving energy efficiency."

The election of a new government mobilized the organization toformulate a policy on climate change, Gratton said.

"We've got a federal government that has clearly signaleda desire to have Canada move in this direction, and we felt it was appropriate toprovide our views on that. We're signaling a desire to be part of any policy roundtablesthat may be set up in the future to get us there. We want to be part of the process."

Mining is also a critical component of the move toward new technologiesand energies, Gratton emphasized.

"What we mine is pretty critical to a low-carbon future.You can't make a Tesla without a lot of the minerals and metals that are mined byour sector. It takes a lot more copper to run an electric car than a conventionalautomobile."

Environmental groups are encouraged by the MAC statement.

"I don't recall a statement like this from the sector asa whole before," Matt Horne, who is the associate regional director of theBritish Columbia office of clean energy think tank Pembina Institute, told SNL onApril 13.

"These statements are helpful. The country is still emergingfrom 10 years under the job-killing carbon tax, so it's creating a constructiveconversation around carbon pricing."

The Canadian government under Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hasbeen working with provincial and territorial governments to develop a climate changepolicy, a spokesperson for Environment and Climate Change Canada told SNL on April13.

"The government of Canada supports innovation that willput Canada and Canadian companies at the forefront of sustainable mining, both domesticallyand internationally," the spokesperson said.

"Strong environmental performance is closely linked to thelong-term economic growth of Canada's mining industry and is essential for maintainingpublic trust in the development of natural resources."