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During the last 20 years, the value of mineral production has grown from 5.8 to 7.1% of the gross national product and now amounts to almost $5 billion annually, of which 50% originates in the metallic sector, 29% in the fuels sector, and 21% in the industrial minerals sector of the industry. Minerals and mineral products account for about 33½% of the country's total export trade, 43% of all revenue freight traffic, and more than 12% of total annual capital investment. It has been largely responsible for the development of that vast part of Canada which lies above the populated area just north of the Canada-United States border.
The role of government in Canada has been to provide the legislative and taxation environment necessary to attract capital from domestic and foreign sources, and for the attainment of orderly and continuous mineral-industry growth. The role of private industry in Canada has been to supply the knowledge and capital for exploration, development, and exploitation of the nation's mineral deposits, and to market the resultant products in Canadian and world markets. The harmonious blending of these roles has made Canada one of the world's foremost producers and exporters of mineral products. A reappraisal of national objectives reaffirms the continuing important position of the Canadian mineral industry in the attainment of economic growth, expanded export markets, and regional development. The tax incentives which have in the past recognized both the importance of minerals to the national economy and the unique aspect of risk in mineral exploration and development will be continued, albeit in a somewhat modified form.
The future will call for an even greater interplay between government and industry in the solution of greater and more complex problems than have confronted the nation and the industry in the past--trade problems such as tariffs, quotas, and nontariff barriers; the location of processing facilities and degree of processing; the environmental effects of mineral operations; the supply of trained manpower; problems arising from both the growth and the decline of mineral producing areas; changing technology; and foreign ownership and control. Solutions to these and other problems must be in harmony not only with national, economic, and social aspirations, but also with external conditions and influences. On the assumption that the nation will devise generally enlightened solutions or, at east, sensible compromises to the problems of the future, the value of the Canadian mineral industry will probably rise to $12 billion in 1980 and about $17.5 billion in 1985.
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