In his recent annual address to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, Michael Goehring, president of the Mining Association of BC, said that seven new mines could be built in British Columbia. â€œBefore any of these projects can proceed, and before the economic benefits can start flowing, they must be permitted by government.â€
That would generate some 6,400 new construction and mining jobs and represent an investment of some $4 billion. Â â€œI said this here two years ago and, unfortunately, I have to say it again.â€
Goehring noted two examples of new mines or mine expansions that are under way in B.C. Referring to the Artemis Gold Blackwater gold mine near Vanderhoof, Goehring said, â€œThat project will boost the economy of B.C.â€™s central interior at a time when it desperately needs a boost. With this one mine, weâ€™re talking 825 construction jobs for two years and up to 457 new jobs that will be created during operations.â€
He said that revenue sharing agreements with local First Nations would provide them with $200 million in various benefits from the Blackwater mine.
In addition, Goehring said that Teck Resources has planned an expansion of its huge Highland Valley Copper mine near Logan Lake south of Kamloops. The mine, which has only six years of life left, would see the expansion extending mine life to 2040.
â€œGovernments are making â€“ or are poised to make â€“ unprecedented investments in infrastructure and in clean tech,â€ Goering said. â€œAnd whether itâ€™s copper for electric vehicles or metallurgical coal for the steel needed to build transit and bridges and wind turbines â€“ we have it right here in BC. There is an urgency to make this happen. The time is now. This unique window of opportunity wonâ€™t be open for long.â€
â€œDeveloping a new mining project in BC â€“ or expanding an existing one â€“ takes far too long and comes with too much uncertainty,â€ he said. â€œMeanwhile increasing costs are hobbling our ability to compete in the world market. I simply canâ€™t stress this enough. The permitting process in our province is too slow, too complex, and too costly.â€
He added, â€œWe are encouraged and appreciative of the governmentâ€™s ongoing review of the permitting process and look forward to an outcome that will lead to a permitting system thatâ€™s measured in months, not years.â€