Updated: Oct 14, 2020
I read a post recently about Marketing and the Mining industry by Corporate Momentum, an Australian communications firm, on some of the areas where marketing can help mining companies. The link is at the end of this post. But having a passion for helping Canadian companies grow internationally, I had a few additional thoughts.
Firstly, let me say, I am completely in the camp of let's make Canada the great country it was (Avro days, insulin, pacemaker, Blackberry) and can be. I'm also a fan of moving to more environmentally friendly options. Because lets not forget where those ingredients for electric vehicle batteries come from or where the many elements of solar panels come from, let alone the 35 elements in your smartphone.
But I've heard there is an expression: "if it's not grown, it's mined".
So let's start with what are the challenges and what are some potential solutions.
These two sectors are more handcuffed than most. And, frankly, Canada is a great place if you are an oligopoly i.e. telecoms, banks, insurance. I can recommend a few books if you want to understand these barriers, the real facts on any of these industries, and why, for example, telco prices in Canada are some of the highest in the world, though we helped invent it.
The mining and oil & gas industry face many challenges, including, amongst other:
1. Environmental groups;
2. Some Indigenous groups, though not all;
3. The relatively new Impact Assessment Act, thanks to the Canadian Government, which means a mining company or an oil & gas company must get alignment with the Federal, Provincial, Territorial, Indigenous, and other interest groups before they can put a shovel in the ground. I'm all for consensus, but this is punitive.
4. There are general community concerns i.e. is this good for our town or community? This is good, if reasonably managed.
5. All while dealing with perpetually moving government domestic and regulatory policies. This aspect has been such a moving target that though worldwide foreign domestic investment has grown 3 fold internationally, Canada's has stagnated. So that means, no international companies want to invest in Canada (Sorry, you are a moving target, but good luck, and by the way, is your corp. tax rate really that high compared to the U.S.).
6. And lastly, not all Canadians have the facts on these industries. We live in a "snackable" media environment, with seemingly lower attention spans. But we are a country of smart people, and we need to do our homework.
The Drawbacks of Not Leveraging These Assets
If these Canadian companies can not sustain themselves, this means they do not hire more Canadians or super, new, tech savvy Canadians. It means we do not invest in our towns, it means there is less money for tax so that means no money for education, up-skilling and re-skilling - some of which could be used for R&D to get to cleaner tech faster.
Alternatively, we can board up these towns like when we moved from 75% of economy being manufacturing to now 25% manufacturing. And you know where some of Canada's biggest businesses moved their call centres. Spoiler alert, it's not in the Maritimes.
And like I said, I am a proud Canadian. I want us to evolve to a country that drives environmentally sound R&D around the world. But we must be able to afford it and be able to pay for it.
An Evolution To The Future
I don't know all the mining or Oil & Gas companies in Canada yet, but I will shortly. My first impression is that they do want to evolve. The want to continue to provide the minerals for future sustainable and environmentally technologies.
So we all owe our country the responsibility of learning the facts. Then we can make smart strategies to get to cleaner energy solutions, and lead the way globally with our higher standards, innovations, and best practices. This has to be a transition strategy.
Happy to hear your thoughts on both sides of the argument so we can move this country forward.
And Corporate Momentum's site: https://www.corporatemomentum.com.au/