VICTORIA – The BRITISH COLUMBIA GOVERNMENT introduced its latest budget that will help stimulate investment in the exploration industry. The budget sets aside $6 million for Geoscience B.C. Another $6 million will support exploration in regions affected by the mountain pine beetle, in an effort to broaden the economic base of communities in those regions. Extra funds ($12 million over three years) are being made available to hire staff and reduce the environmental assessment backlog. Another chunk of cash ($30 million over three years) will be spent to support the participation of First Nations in mineral development decisions.
The budget proposals are hailed by the ASSOCIATION FOR MINERAL EXPLORATION BRITISH COLUMBIA (AME BC).
“The provisions announced in today’s budget will help expedite the environmental assessment process providing mineral exploration companies with greater certainty that their applications can be processed in a timely manner, which will help attract increased investment in the province,” said AME BC president and CEO Dan Jepsen.
“We applaud the B.C. government for its commitment to support engagement and consultation with First Nations. The mineral exploration industry sincerely hopes that the increased funding announced today will provide a useful framework that will enable resource companies and First Nations to continue to develop constructive working relationships that respect Aboriginal interests while supporting economic development in the province,” he added. (www.AMEBC.ca)
Likewise, Dr. ‘Lyn Anglin, president and CEO of GEOSCIENCE BC, applauded the proposals.
“This investment will advance our understanding of B.C.’s resource potential to help stimulate new economic activity in the province,” she said. “The new funding will be used to accelerate mineral exploration geoscience projects in B.C.’s pine-beetle infested area to diversify local economies and help sustain forest-dependent communities.
“Geoscience BC will work in partnership with the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources as well as industry, academia, communities and First Nations to develop exploration geoscience projects that will yield the best and most immediate results,” said Anglin. (www.GeoscienceBC.com)
Details of the 2008 budget are posted on the B.C. government’s website at www.bcbudget.gov.bc.ca/2008.