Canada’s geological endowment is one of our primary competitive advantages over other countries – if mineral rich (prospective) lands are open for exploration. The availability of prospective land profoundly influences investment decisions made by companies. As land withdrawals remove accessibility to prospective areas, Canada becomes a less attractive place to explore, and companies go elsewhere.
PDAC and the mineral exploration industry understand that there will be times where the biodiversity or cultural values associated with a specific piece of land are so high that they must and should be withdrawn. This is why land use processes must balance diverse goals and values.
Where things go awry, however, is when land withdrawal decisions are made without a sound grounding in scientific evidence, leading to land withdrawals that may not be necessary to protect biodiversity and respect Indigenous rights and treaty rights.
Things also go sideways when decisions are made based primarily or even solely based on biological data, without incorporation of socio-economic data as well, such as the mineral and energy potential of proposed land withdrawals.
Land withdrawal decisions, in other words, are not being made based on sound evidence, at the conclusion of a robust policy process. Working with regional associations across Canada, PDAC advocates for land-withdrawal decision making processes that are:
- Adequately resourced