With B.C.'s mineral exploration sector celebrating a second consecutive record year of investments, Premier Christy Clark announced action to increase competitiveness, reduce backlog and create a smarter permitting process.
"British Columbia is blessed with an abundant supply of the resources the world needs and the most innovative mining and exploration sectors," said Clark. "This past year, we've seen the confidence they have in B.C. as exploration is up 47 per cent. We want those investments, which support families and communities, to continue, and we are showing our confidence by eliminating needless delays so the industry can create more well-paying jobs."
The preliminary estimates for exploration expenditures are $680 million in 2012, up 47 per cent from the record-breaking number of $462 million in 2011.
To help the industry take full advantage of a growing global need for natural resources, Clark announced an investment of an additional $7 million for efficient permitting for water, land and mining exploration, better processing times and reducing the average turnaround for Notice of Work applications while protecting the environment and requirements for First Nations consultations.
In February 2013, government will be shifting to electronic applications for B.C.'s natural resources related authorizations. This will create a more responsive and effective resource permitting process.
"The mineral exploration and mining industry brings in millions of dollars in revenue and provides thousands of well-paying, secure jobs in communities throughout the province. We are working to ensure mining jobs will continue to be available for British Columbians," said Minister of Energy, Mines and Natural Gas Rich Coleman. "It is safe to say that B.C.'s mineral exploration and mining industry is well on its way towards becoming a national and global leader in development, safety and high environmental standards."
This announcement sets the stage for further commitments towards ensuring a positive investment climate for mining.
"We're making an additional $7-million investment to ensure we can maintain timely processing of natural resource authorizations that are necessary to support environmentally sustainable resource development and job creation," said Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Steve Thomson.
Since 2011, three new mines have begun production and three more have been permitted with construction underway. Additionally, five mines have received permits for major expansions since the BC Jobs Plan was announced in September 2011.
The commitment in Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan to expand nine mines and open eight additional mines by 2015 is expected to generate an increase of mine-operation revenue estimated at $1.6 billion per year once these projects are fully operational and create about 2,000 new, and sustain more than 5,000, jobs because of longer mine lives.
- B.C.'s mining industry and related minerals sectors employed over 29,000 people in 2011.
- B.C is the first province in Canada to share direct revenue generated from mining with First Nations. Three agreements have been reached and a number are under negotiation.
- The British Columbia Geological Survey has supported the mineral exploration industry for more than 100 years by providing new geological maps and other geoscience data, by acting as the provincial custodian for all geoscience data and by delivering this information via MapPlace, an award-winning Internet display tool that is among the best in the world.