Coal miners are heading back to work, with a new wave of job growth that is being driven by cleaner coal, and a new boom in the construction of pipelines.
But there are also concerns that coal mines and other industries are under pressure from new regulations and the political environment.
The government is cracking down on pollution and cracking down even more on mines, which is pushing down the value of the industry, analysts say.
In a bid to curb carbon emissions, the Trudeau government announced in December it is going to cut emissions from the energy sector by 30 per cent over the next five years, and it wants to shift billions of dollars from mining and other sectors into clean-energy projects.
Coal mining, for example, is set to get $3.5 billion from the federal government over the coming years, but it will also get billions from other sectors, including renewable energy.
The industry is looking for a $3-billion infusion from the provincial and territorial governments to help it ramp up production, and the Liberals are pushing ahead with the Keystone XL pipeline.
That project, which would transport oil sands crude from Alberta to refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, is being blocked by a federal court, which said it is an example of a pipeline that would pollute the environment.
Coal companies have said the project is too costly, that it could be dangerous and would damage the environment in Canada, and that they would be able to adapt to climate change.
“The Trudeau government is trying to create the illusion that this is a different kind of climate change, and so they are creating new jobs,” said Gregor Klemmer, president of the Canadian Association of Mines and Petrochemical Manufacturers.
“The Trudeau Liberals are looking to create an atmosphere that they can pretend this is different than previous administrations and so this is the right thing to do.
But the reality is that we are looking at a very different environment.”
The government has also been cracking down hard on mines and mining companies in other parts of the country, including the West Coast of the United States, where mining companies have been fined $1 billion for pollution and other violations.
The federal government is also tightening restrictions on foreign mining, including barring foreign companies from buying Canadian coal.
While the Liberals have been pushing for more coal mines, there is some concern the government could lose a lot of its market share.
Coal prices have fallen in recent months as prices have soared in Asia.
Even before the Trudeau Liberals took office, Canada’s mining sector was already reeling from low prices.
The Canadian Mining Association predicted in October that coal would lose 25 per cent of its share of the global market in 2040.
Some mines are also being forced to increase wages.
Last month, the National Mining Association announced that it was suspending its pay agreement with coal mine operators, and workers who have lost their jobs will not be allowed to collect severance packages.
In an interview with the Globe and Mail, the association’s president said the move would help the sector survive in the face of the coal price downturn.
A growing number of mines are moving to Canada because of a surge in demand from China, which will account for $2.5-billion of the $3 billion that Canada is paying to Chinese companies this year, according to the mining association.
But a growing number are also looking to avoid China altogether.
Earlier this month, Canada announced it would not pay China the $400-million payment that it had agreed to under the so-called North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), because it would be too expensive to enforce.
Meanwhile, the Canadian government is facing pressure to address a growing national health crisis in the mining sector, which has been the subject of numerous coronavirus outbreaks in recent years.
Health experts have warned the government must be more transparent about the nature of its mining regulations.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced in January that Canada would impose a five-year ban on mining in all regions, including regions where it has found high-risk mining operations.
On Monday, the Conservative government announced it was proposing a six-year moratorium on coal mines.
The Liberals have said they are not proposing a blanket ban, but the government is expected to introduce stricter rules on mining.
Last month, Health Minister Rona Ambrose said the Liberals were not planning to implement a blanket mining ban.
There are also fears that Canada’s largest mining companies, Glencore and Rio Tinto, are moving away from Canada, or are considering moving elsewhere.
Glencore is the world’s biggest mining company.
Rio Tonto is a Canadian company that owns the majority of the company’s assets in the U:eastern U.K. Rio has also moved its mining operations to China, where it operates the largest coal mine in the world, in Hebei province.