Courtesy of the BC Government:
Funding in Budget 2015 will establish a Major Mines Permitting Office to improve the co-ordination of major mine permits across government, add staff to conduct more inspections and permit reviews, and maintain improved turnaround times for notice of work permits, Premier Christy Clark announced today.
“Up to 10 new mines are expected to proceed in the next few years and this new funding will make sure we are ready to support these projects and ensure the safety of this important industry as it continues to grow,” said Premier Christy Clark. “B.C.’s mineral exploration and mining industry is a great comeback story and today we have a significant opportunity to create thousands of jobs by opening new mines and expanding existing ones.”
Government has used contingency funding since 2011 to significantly increase geotechnical staff and inspections and improve permit turnaround times. The funding announced today will make these improvements permanent and create additional capacity to support the major mines permitting process.
The base budget of the ministry will be increased by about $6 million, a portion of which will go towards making current contingency funding permanent. Also, new permit fees for mines in B.C. are expected to raise an additional $3 million per year. The new fees will not be charged to exploration companies.
“Since 2011, we’ve made significant improvements to increase geotechnical inspections, hire additional staff and reduce the turnaround time for notice of work permits,” said Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines. “This investment will ensure we continue to improve our processes and support mining in British Columbia.”
“We welcome today’s announcement,” said Marcia Smith, senior vice president, Sustainability and External Affairs of Teck Resources Limited. “This increased funding will further strengthen B.C. permitting processes and help to support sustainable mining, job creation and economic growth in mining communities across the province.”
Premier Clark also announced that government will extend the $10-million mining flow-through share tax credit program to the end of 2015 to support investment in mining exploration. The credit helps junior exploration companies continue to make important resource discoveries by providing an incentive that can be used to raise additional investment revenue.
“Today’s announcement of the Major Mines Permitting Office demonstrates that the government continues to take steps each year to improve the permitting process for the industry,” said Gavin C. Dirom, president and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia. “And we appreciate that permitting fees will not be applied to exploration activities because such activities do not generate revenue. We are also very pleased to see the continuation of the flow-through share program for 2015, which will encourage more companies to explore for minerals in the province.”
“MABC welcomes the announcement of additional permanent funding for the Ministry of Energy and Mines and the creation of the Major Minds Permitting Office, said Karina Briño, president & CEO of the Mining Association of BC. “B.C.’s competitive advantage as a mining jurisdiction and the creation of jobs across the province are dependent on an effective mine permitting process. We look forward to continuing to work with government on the implementation of the new service delivery model.”
To further encourage exploration in B.C., Premier Clark also committed to extending the Province’s New Mine Allowance to 2020. The tax credit combines with other mineral tax provisions to support new mines and major expansions by allowing them to deduct 133% cent of their capital costs.
Exploration expenditures in British Columbia for 2014 are estimated to total $338 million. In 2013, exploration spending in B.C. represented over 21% of all exploration in Canada. This is a substantial increase from 2001 when the province accounted for just six per cent of Canada’s exploration expenditures.
Since June 2011, five new mines have opened in British Columbia, creating over 1,300 new jobs, and seven major mine expansions have been approved. British Columbia’s mining industry employs 30,000 workers with an average annual salary of $114,000, a significant increase from 2001 when 14,700 workers were employed at an average annual salary of $81,000.