Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC)

Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC)

February 17, 2009 17:48 ET

AME BC: A Responsible Budget for Challenging Times

More must be done to reflect importance of mineral exploration to economic recovery

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 17, 2009) - The Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) today expressed mixed views of budget 2009-while recognizing it is a critical budget given the current economic situation.

"These are difficult times. We understand the government's position and we support a fiscally prudent budget. However, the mineral exploration industry-through the Mining Economic Task Force-suggested a number of low-cost initiatives to stimulate the sector which were not addressed in the budget," said Gavin C. Dirom, AME BC President & CEO.

"We appreciate this government's acknowledgement of the importance of the mineral exploration and mining industry but we were hoping to see more of this reflected in the budget," added Dirom. "The reality is that people are losing jobs today."

Mining and other natural resource sectors are critical to maintaining the province's world class health care and education systems. The mineral exploration sector invested $367 million in 2008 and the mining industry as a whole is worth over $8 billion to the BC economy. Mining is expected to lead other sectors in the economic recovery based on anticipated strong demand from Asia. Positioning the sector for this eventual recovery is critical to the long-term strength of the BC economy.

AME BC applauds Budget 2009 for the BC Mining Flow-Through Share Tax Credit and the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit for mountain pine beetle impacted regions, which are important initiatives that are clear signals to investors and are welcome by industry. As well, the throne speech recognizes the importance of investing in geosciences, the foundation of mineral exploration and mining.

Moreover, AME BC is encouraged by the provincial government's continuing efforts to work with the federal government to develop one environmental review process for one project, rather than duplicating assessments that incur significant costs and delays. As the mineral exploration and mining sector positions itself to return to healthy growth, government recognition and support for efficient permitting and programs is vital.

"Over the past several months, thousands of jobs have been lost in the mining and mineral exploration sector; and investment, the driving force of exploration, may be drying up. This calls for bold initiatives and now is the time for an economic stimulus package that protects jobs and builds for the future. We will be working with government over the next few months to make sure this happens," concluded Dirom.

About AME BC:

AME BC represents more than 5,000 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, partnerships, and advocacy, 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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