By Mary Louise McAllister
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Additional resources for A Stake in the Future: Redefining the Canadian Mineral Industry
2 Worldwide exploration budgets, 1994 Sources: Metals Economics Group; Natural Resources Canada. Through innovative practices and automation, the mineral industry has made significant improvements in productivity and increased its production levels. '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.
Given this policy environment, the fact that the public and many policy-makers seem indifferent to the need for continuing competitiveness of the mineral sector is viewed as a fundamental problem for the industry. Access to land for exploration and development is becoming a very contentious issue for the mineral industry. Issues dealing with questions of land access serve to illustrate the growing conflict between the interests of industry and other groups. The industry needs access to large tracts of land in order to explore for new economically viable deposits.
50 In July 1992, it was announced that Stephen Owen, chairman of the BC Commission on Resources and Environment (CORE), would study the Tatshenshini Valley over the next year and make recommendations to government about its future use. The government decided that the ecological value of the area outweighed its potential mineral value and, on that basis, designated it a protected area. It is now a World Heritage Site. EC's decision on the Windy Craggy project had a deep, adverse impact on the confidence of the mining industry in the government's decisionmaking processes.