Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC)

Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC)

February 19, 2008 18:57 ET

AME BC: B.C. Budget Will Stimulate Continued Mineral Exploration Investment

VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 19, 2008) - The B.C. government's commitment to increase funding for geoscience, support engagement with First Nations and direct resources to expedite the environmental assessment process will help stimulate continued investment in B.C.'s mineral exploration industry, said Dan Jepsen, President and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC).

"The provisions announced in today's budget will help expedite the environmental assessment process providing mineral exploration companies with greater certainty that their applications can be processed in a timely manner, which will help attract increased investment in the province," said Jepsen.

"We applaud the B.C. government for its commitment to support engagement and consultation with First Nations. The mineral exploration industry sincerely hopes that the increased funding announced today will provide a useful framework that will enable resource companies and First Nations to continue to develop constructive working relationships that respect Aboriginal interests while supporting economic development in the province."

Specific budget provisions that will assist B.C.'s mineral exploration industry include:

- $6 million for Geoscience B.C. to further support mineral exploration in Mountain Pine-Beetle-affected regions of the province (in addition to $6 million for oil and gas exploration).

- $30 million over three years to enhance engagement with First Nations when Crown land and resource decisions affect asserted Aboriginal territories. This budget provision includes $1 million per year to the Environmental Assessment Office (EAO) to assist with Aboriginal consultation and $9 million per year to fund intergovernmental coordination of First Nations engagement related to Crown land and resources.

- $21 million over three years, with $5 million for additional staff resources at the Environmental Assessment Office, to reduce environmental permitting backlogs, and $2 million allocated as a budget increase to help EAO manage the increasing number of major projects.

Exploration expenditures in 2007 were nearly $416 million, up 57 per cent from 2006 and 1,300 per cent over the 2001 investment level of $29 million. Total exploration drilling reached about 1.254 million metres during the year, up over 51 per cent from the 830,000 metres drilled in 2006. Mineral tenure acquisitions during 2007 were equivalent to 2006 levels, at an estimated 6 million hectares and the number of exploration projects with budgets in excess of $1 million was 102, up 42 per cent from 2006. There were 472 exploration projects for minerals, coal, industrial minerals and aggregate throughout B.C. and the number of new mineral discoveries in 2007 was close to 25.

About AME BC

AME BC represents over 4,300 members including geoscientists, prospectors, engineers, entrepreneurs, exploration companies, suppliers, mineral producers, and associations who are engaged in mineral exploration in B.C. 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 regarded as the predominant voice of mineral exploration in British Columbia.

Contact Information

  • AME BC
    Dan M. Jepsen, RPF
    President & Chief Executive Officer
    (604) 818-7878