By Bryan Cox, President & CEO, Mining Association of BC,
Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration,
Alec Morrison, President & CEO, Mining Suppliers Association of BC
As we head towards the provincial election, there is growing interest about how the government will continue to support the mineral exploration and mining industry to be globally competitive and able to produce the commodities we all need and use daily, while providing a stable, prosperous and sustainable future for all British Columbians.
Exploration and mining are an essential part of the economic and social fabric of this province. The industry contributes more than $7.8 billion annually to the provincial economy which includes 30,000 jobs that supporting families in rural and urban communities.
A strong and vibrant mineral exploration and mining industry is in the interest of all British Columbians. Its annual provincial tax contributions of more than $476 million support social programs, education and health care.
As a province rich in minerals, metals and coal, BC’s fundamentals are strong and it is very well positioned to take full advantage of its geographic position on Canada’s Pacific coast and access to Asian markets.
Today, BC has 14 operating mines, over 30 industrial mineral producers and two smelters. In northern British Columbia there are at least 136 active mineral and coal exploration projects, all requiring supplies and services that contribute to the current and future economic growth and development of our communities. Terrace, for example, is a natural business hub and home to many companies offering goods and services for mineral exploration and mining, while the seaside communities of Prince Rupert, Kitimat and Stewart are key ports for the shipping of BC mining products.
With globally determined commodity prices improving yet still volatile, this is a critical time for the industry. As prices stabilize, BC can capitalize on its opportunities and ensure that the industry remains competitive and attractive to investment. The industry is poised to continue to play a key role in the economy of BC in the coming years. Government, industry, First Nations and communities must continue to work together to benefit from the investment and community-building economic opportunities presented by the mining industry.
To remain an attractive jurisdiction for capital investment on a global stage, government and industry must continue to work together on improving access to land to enable temporary, high-tech and low impact geoscience and exploration that locates the deposits for the mines of the future.
As the election campaign nears its end, keep in mind that a competitive exploration and mining industry benefits all British Columbians.