Thomson: Digging our way to B.C.’s future

For the second year in a row, we can celebrate record levels of investment in our mineral exploration sector.

In B.C., we are fortunate to have an abundant supply of natural resources, and under the BC Jobs Plan, we have established a solid bedrock on which our economy will continue to prosper.

For the second year in a row, we can celebrate record levels of investment in our mineral exploration sector.

It’s a trend our government began 10 years ago and we are enjoying the benefits today.

Our mining and mineral exploration industry is a key component of the BC Jobs Plan, and with a second consecutive record year of investments in 2012, we’re seeing progress.

We are more than halfway to our Jobs Plan’s commitment of nine expanded mines and eight new mines by 2015.

This will generate an increase of mine-operation revenue, estimated at $1.6 billion per year, once these projects are fully operational.

In B.C., the mining industry and related sectors employed 29,000 people in 2011, an increase of nearly 14 per cent.

When these new projects are all on line, they’ll create about 2,000 new jobs and will sustain more than 5,000 jobs because of longer mine lifespan.

The jobs are well-paying, supporting highly-trained workers and families in more than 50 communities.

Under the Jobs Plan, the provincial and federal governments are working to develop a single, effective environmental assessment process while maintaining the highest standards.

In 2011, we also committed to reducing the mining permit backlog.

By the end of last year, we cut that backlog by 94 per cent, thanks to the more efficient One Project, One Process business model now in use.

Now, all required authorizations on a project are processed together, based on the client’s needs.

It’s making a measurable difference and is the kind of progress that investors like to see.

It is an improvement that benefits the people and communities we consult with.

To further support the industry, a new online application system will be provided through FrontCounter BC.

This system will replace hard-copy applications with electronic ones for authorizations that relate to natural resources in our province.

It will help reduce backlogs, minimize rejections and delays, and allow clients to monitor in real time, the status of their application.

Mining has a huge impact on our economy.

Strong revenues to the province mean we can deliver a budget that’s balanced and fair, maintain our triple-A credit rating, attract new investment in new projects and technology, create and maintain more well-paying, stable jobs, fund skills training and trade programs to ensure our workforce is competitive, and pay to deliver health care to 4.6-million British Columbians.

Here’s a telling excerpt taken from the BC Jobs Plan: “Worldwide demand for coal, metals and industrial minerals has increased dramatically and it’s expected to rise even more with continuing growth of a new middle class in places like China and India. B.C. mining products are essential ingredients to supporting the largest urbanization in human history—taking place in China and India.

“There are no better mining companies in the world than those found in B.C. (They) set the global standard for environmental responsibility in mines here and around the world. B.C. is an international mining centre and now we have an opportunity to finance new mining opportunities to supply the mineral demands of Asia Pacific.”

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