Gov't tight-lipped on mines promotion

THE PROVINCIAL government isn't providing details on a key part of Premier Christy Clark's jobs creation plan.

In a speech yesterday in Surrey capping a four-day tour of the province promoting her plan, Clark committed herself to eight new mines and the expansion of nine currently operating mines by 2015.

This growth is anticipated to generate an increase of $1.6 billion of additional revenue per year to government once these projects are fully operational,” indicated information which accompanied her speech.

This will also create approximately 1,800 new and sustain more than 5,000 direct-mining jobs in the province.”

But Clark's ministry responsible for mines isn't saying where the new mines are or the locations of existing mines to be expanded.

New and expanding mining projects are led by private companies that have confidentially agreements in place which preclude us from releasing information until companies have had a chance to publicly release their plans,” stated an email from the energy and mines ministry in response to a question about Clark's statements.

Mining is important in many regions of the province. For example, Teck Resource Ltd. plans to expand a number of its coal mines in southeast British Columbia. As well, Teck announced Sept. 22 that it plans to spend almost $700 million on improvements at two of their metal mines, here in BC,” the email ended.

The latter sentence is in reference to Teck saying it will spend $210 million at its Trail location to improve its ability to recycle electronic waste and $475 million to modernize the mill at its Highland Copper mine in the southern interior.

Although Clark spoke of new mines and mine expansions in Surrey yesterday, she did not raise the topic during two of her jobs creation stops in the northwest this week, one at Prince Rupert and the other at Kitamaat Village.

Her emphasis in Prince Rupert was on expanding the port there and in Kitamaat on promoting the construction of liquefied natural gas plants.

But there are mineral properties in the northwest either under advanced development or on their way to production.

Topping the list is the Red Chris copper property owned by Imperial Metals.

It has full environmental approval and the company is now working on final permits.

Imperial wants the mine to be the first customer to buy power through the Northwest Transmission Line and both projects have scheduled completion dates of late 2013.

Seabridge Gold has now opened an office in Smithers as part of its work on the KSM property near Stewart and Avanti Mining continues work to reopen a closed molybdenum mine at Kitsault.

And by the end of this year, NovaGold and Teck will be ready to submit a plan to provincial regulators to open a copper and gold mine at Galore Creek.






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