By Mary Louise McAllister
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Extra info for A Stake in the Future: Redefining the Canadian Mineral Industry
11 Although they are world leaders in mining, members of the Canadian mineral sector must nevertheless contend with a diminishing share of the global market and decreasing known reserves of minerals. Mineral economists have pointed out that the known, easily accessible economic deposits are becoming depleted in Canada. Many large mines could be closed in the next decade without new mines to replace them. One executive of a prominent mining company echoes many others when he states that there are still excellent opportunities in Canada if the regulatory environment were hospitable.
Public perceptions are being influenced by shifting demographic patterns, environmental values, the emergence of a variety of competing land uses beyond resource development, and rapidly transforming political, economic, and physical environments. Some political economists and others question whether Canada should continue to promote its staples industries at the expense of diversifying into the secondary and tertiary sectors. The mineral sector faces stiff competition in the global economy, whether it comes in the form of competition from new materials - such as ceramics or composites - or from other mineral competitors in places such as the former Soviet Union, Latin America, or Southeast Asia.
6 These groups have yet to learn how to work in a concerted fashion. Before they can persuade others of their concerns about the mining industry, they need to be able to come to terms internally. If these associations can learn to work more closely together, they might be able to develop some self-discipline that will allow them to play a more effective role in the public policy arena. As noted above, many prospectors and developers, in particular, were attracted to the lifestyle for the independence and freedom that it offered.