While overall activity in the B.C. mineral exploration and development sector may be down as compared with last year’s record-breaking pace and expenditures of $463 million, there are numerous advanced exploration projects in B.C., particularly copper, gold and coal projects, that are forging ahead.
Even with challenging global economic conditions facing the junior exploration sector, B.C. continues to attract significant investment with projects such as New Gold’s Blackwater, Pretium Resources’ Brucejack and Seabridge Gold’s KSM leading the way.
As an example of a successful development in 2012, N
ew Gold opened its New Afton underground copper-gold-silver mine located near Kamloops, B.C. Over the next 10 years, there is potential for as many as 30 more mining projects to be developed in B.C., representing up to $30 billion in capital investment.
According to a recent Mining Industry Human Resources Council report, even under baseline economic conditions, the B.C. mineral exploration and development industry is forecast to need almost 4,000 highly skilled and technically trained workers between 2012 and 2022 due to a large number of pending retirements. It’s clear that mineral exploration and development are the foundational economic drivers, spurring responsible regional development, creating family sustaining jobs, enhancing infrastructure and increasing government revenue to offset B.C.’s health care and education costs.
But as British Columbians competing in a global economy with other mineral-rich jurisdictions, we must not rest on our laurels. Members of AME BC are active in over 100 countries around the world and many exploration or mining companies that have their head offices located here are not currently exploring in the province.
In fact, 60 per cent of all the Canadian exploration companies are based in B.C. and these companies are responsible for the largest share of exploration spending in Canada, the United States, South America, Central America, Europe and Africa.
The B.C.-based industry is truly international in scope and with expertise in technical, legal, accounting and financial matters, British Columbia is renowned as the global centre for mineral exploration and development. No matter the jurisdiction, to attract and sustain high levels of investment, an "open for business" culture must be nurtured, strategic investments made and public policies implemented in a consistent and transparent manner that enable responsible mineral exploration and development.
AME BC is thankful to the federal government for selecting the University of British Columbia and Simon Fraser University to lead the establishment of the new Canadian International Institute for Extractive Industries and Development in Vancouver, British Columbia.
As strategic partners, AME BC will provide additional funding and in-kind resources to the UBC-SFU led coalition to establish and operate a new institute for extractive industries and development that will be funded by a $25-million grant from the Canadian International Development Agency.
Building on the respective strengths at UBC and SFU and in partnership with Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, the new institute will offer developing countries best practice knowledge in extractive technology, public policy and regulations, and health and education outreach in order to empower industry, governments and non-governmental organizations to reduce poverty while protecting the environment.
Having this new institute based in Vancouver reflects the fact that British Columbia is the global centre of excellence in mineral exploration and development. Along with being the headquarters of many major international mining companies, there are 1,000 junior exploration and intermediate mining companies that are exploring, discovering and developing mineral resources around the globe. On top of that, there are approximately 2,400 international service consultants and supplier companies supporting the sector in technical, legal and financial affairs.
With global expertise in sustainability, environmental stewardship and corporate social responsibility, the new UBC-SFU led institute will build upon the strengths of BC’s global centre of excellence in mineral exploration and development and will create an enduring legacy for the industry and Canada as a whole.
AME BC is the predominant voice of mineral exploration and development in British Columbia. Established in 1912, AME BC represents almost 5,000 members including geoscientists, prospectors, engineers, students, exploration and mining companies and suppliers who are engaged in mineral exploration and development in BC and throughout the world.
AME BC annually hosts guests from around the world during the annual Mineral Exploration Roundup conference that takes place every January. Now in its 30th year, Roundup attracts thousands of delegates that share technical and financial information about the industry and learn about leading practices in environmental stewardship, aboriginal and community engagement.
Mineral Exploration Roundup 2013, with the theme "Digging Deeper: Resources for Life" will be held from January 28-31, 2013 at the Westin Bayshore Vancouver.