Mineral exploration companies spent more money in 2020 in Smithers than in any other municipality in the province.
The town topped the list with an estimated $105.2 million according to the Association for Mineral Exploration’s (AME) report Explore Our Economy (EOE) released Feb. 1 during its annual Roundup conference.
That was almost double what was spent in Vancouver ($64.1 million), which came in second and represented 52 per cent of all the spending in the northwest region.
Other towns in the northwest that made the Top 10 were Stewart at number 5 ($30 million), Burns Lake at number 8 ($19.7 million) and Terrace at number 9 ($19 million).
In total for the province, companies spent $513.5 million with 445 vendors in 110 municipalities and First Nations.
At Roundup Jan. 31, Bruce Ralston, minister of Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, announced 2021 was an even bigger year for the province with a near-record $659.8 million in expenditures.
“Mineral exploration and mine development are fundamental and essential industries in BC and will continue to play a critical role in the growth of our province and the transition to a low-carbon economy,” he said.
The report also highlighted that 21 per cent of all expenditures were made with Indigenous-affiliated vendors.
“Our industry also aims to be a leader in reconciliation with Indigenous peoples through collaboration, shared planning, and procurement,” said Kendra Johnston, AME president. “This report demonstrates how vital Indigenous-affiliated business and collaborative partnerships are to mineral exploration, and how these relationships can advance reconciliation and economic advancement for Indigenous communities.”