Canada supports electrification of the nation’s mining sector
(Kitco News) -The mining sector’s green revolution is getting some important support from the Canadian government.
Prime Minster Justin Trudeau announced a new incentive that makes it more affordable for Canadian miners to invest in zero-emission vehicles and automotive equipment.
Trudeau spoke at the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) 2020 annual conference on Monday.
The Canadian government will extend its zero emission vehicle incentive to include off-road vehicles. The initiative would provide a 100% write-off of the purchase cost of eligible zero-emission vehicles and automotive equipment in the year they are put in use.
Under the incentive program, which was launched last year, businesses have been able to claim 100% of the cost of the purchase of on-road passenger vehicles up to a limit of $55,000 per eligible vehicle purchase.
In his speech at PDAC 2020, that electrification of fleets in the mining sector will help the government meet its greenhouse gas emissions and is a step towards the nation’s economy becoming net zero by 2050. Trudeau noted that 10% of greenhouse gas emissions produced in Canada comes from heavy industries.
With support from the government, in partnership with industry, Trudeau said that Canada is in a position to be the world’s leader in providing clean metals and minerals to the world.
The extended incentive program comes as Canada is caught in a growingly bitter dispute between promoting economic growth and protecting the environment.
Trudeau said that the polarizing views on the debate have been unhelpful and have been tearing the country apart. He equated the current debate on environment and economic growth to the debate in the late ‘80s on free-trade. He explained that the debate nearly 40 years ago was extremely polarized; however, he said that five years after the 1988 elections the government moved forward with NAFTA with the U.S. with very little turmoil.
“The free trade debate was wrenching us apart,” he said. “But within five years we recognized that it was essential for the country. We recognize that we need to protect the environment and create good jobs, we just haven’t reached a consensus on how we do that.”
Looking at the mining sector, Trudeau said that Canadian miners can now play a leadership role in the current debate. He noted that miners have recognized that good climate policies are good for business.
Trudeau noted that Canada already has its first fully electric mine – Newmont’s new Borden Gold Mine near Chapleau, Ontario. The site has all electric-fleet and reached commercial gold production in October.