Canadian Mining Journal


SURVEY: Mineral exploration spending in B.C. up 20% after years of inertia

Summary of exploration statistics in British Columbia . (Image: EY)

VANCOUVER – The mineral and coal exploration industry in British Columbia grew last year for the first time since 2012. This was the encouraging result from the second annual British Columbia Mineral and Coal Exploration survey. The survey was conducted by EY, the B.C. Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME).

The survey found that exploration expenditures across B.C. totaled $246 million in 2017, up $41 million (20%) from 2016. Gold exploration accounted for $37 million (87%) of that increase, driven by increased activity in the province’s Golden Triangle and Cariboo gold belt regions. Exploration expenditure on primary silver projects more than doubled to $9.8 million, while zinc grew by almost 50% to $8.2 million, driven by increasing prices. The province’s northwest and southeast regions were hotbeds of exploration activity, accounting for more than three quarters (77% or $33 million) of the increased overall exploration expenditures.

Coal exploration, however, decreased by 18% or $7 million. This had a significant impact on the province’s northeast region, where exploration spending declined by almost 75% to $2.4 million.

“It’s reassuring to see exploration spending returning to BC, particularly as resource depletion returns to the list of industry risks,” says Jonathan Buchanan, director of corporate affairs at AME. “We’re also encouraged to hear survey respondents remain committed to working with First Nations when sourcing new resource deposits to ensure benefits extend to the local or surrounding communities.”

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