Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC)

Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC)

September 01, 2009 18:37 ET

BC Budget Realistic and Appropriate for the Times Says Association for Mineral Exploration BC

- Supports HST implementation - Applauds Northwest Power Line (Highway 37 electrification) commitment - Welcomes Flow-through Share Tax Credit extension-calls on government to make permanent - Calls on government to further cut red tape to encourage mining as leader of economic recovery

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Sept. 1, 2009) - "We believe the provincial government and this budget are on the right track-these times call for tough and realistic measures. With members in the commodity sector we know, perhaps more than most, how volatile the economy has been this past year. No one could have predicted some of the price changes in commodities we have seen in the past twelve months," said Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC).

AME BC appreciates the financial challenges governments around the world are facing. The BC government, through years of prudent management, has placed the province in good shape to encourage a quick and strong recovery. This budget is realistic and right for the times.

Despite the concerns of some, AME BC generally supports the harmonized sales tax (HST) and its implementation. Mineral exploration companies will benefit from the elimination of embedded provincial sales tax in the products they purchase including heavy equipment and services.

"British Columbia is a world centre for mining and mineral exploration. We host over 1200 mineral exploration companies in BC, and thousands more companies are involved in providing services to those companies. We must stay competitive with similar mining jurisdictions around the world such as Ontario and Western Australia, both of which now have an HST-style tax," added Dirom.

"AME BC agrees that strong measures need to be taken to protect the style of life British Columbians have come to enjoy. That is why we are calling on the government to refocus on the natural resources sector, particularly mining, as an engine of growth to help us through the current economic crisis," stated Dirom.

Measures like the construction of the Northwest Power Line along Highway 37 and continuation of the Mining Flow-through Share Tax Credit are powerful examples of how this government is responding to that call. Going forward AME BC would like to see renewed investment in Geoscience BC and flow-through made permanent.

The reality is that there are over twenty mining projects in BC somewhere in the permitting or environmental assessment process. If only a few of these were to become operating mines, BC's deficit could be reduced. The Mount Milligan project near Mackenzie alone would create $1.4 billion in tax revenue during its 20 year mine life.

"Governments can stimulate an economy in three ways: through tax cuts, increased spending, or streamlining regulation to allow business to create growth. Of these, streamlining of processes and smart regulation have the least impact on the bottom line. Therefore, we encourage government, as part of its review of expenditures, to consider refocusing on reducing red tape for the natural resources sector."

"It is during times of restraint and economic downturn that the reality of British Columbia as a resource-based province becomes obvious. Support for adequate health care, education, and other government-provided services is integrally tied to a strong, productive resource sector," concluded Dirom.

About AME BC:

AME BC represents thousands of members including geoscientists, prospectors, engineers, entrepreneurs, exploration companies, suppliers, mineral producers, and associations who are engaged in mineral exploration in BC and throughout the world. Through leadership, advocacy, and partnerships, AME BC promotes a healthy environment and business climate for the mineral exploration industry. AME BC is the predominant voice of mineral exploration in British Columbia.

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