British Columbia’s modern day “gold rush” continued in the second quarter of 2011 as the precious metal marched to over $1,500 as the U.S. debt approached $14.3 trillion. Gold continued to rally even as the U.S. dollar strengthened, helping the precious metal hit highs versus the euro and sterling. The precious metal has been on a solid footing since Europe started struggling to put together a bailout for Greece and contain the European debt crisis. At the same time, BC’s economy fortuitously bounced back in 2010, expanding 4.0% after posting a 1.8% decline in real GDP in the previous year. The economic recovery was broadly based, with both the goods and service sectors making significant gains driven by a turnaround in resource-based industries, namely mineral exploration and development.
As such, for many members of AME BC, the second quarter began with exciting discussions about the mineral exploration boom in BC, potential joint ventures and property acquisitions during the Kamloops Exploration Group conference in early April. Later that same month, Angela Brand Danuser was the host mayor of the very successful Minerals North conference held in Stewart surrounded by the famous “Golden Triangle” of north-western BC where so many prospectors, explorers, developers and miners have realized their dreams. On top of that, numerous municipal government conferences were held throughout regional British Columbian communities and key discussions about promoting local mineral exploration and development opportunities were front and centre.
In May, during Mining Week 2011 and the Mining Person of the Year event to celebrate outstanding achievements that Rob Pease (previously with Terrane Metals) and Jim O’Rourke (Copper Mountain) have made to the industry, the Honourable Steve Thomson, BC’s Minister of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations, announced $12 million in funding for Geoscience BC over two years. Geoscience BC, which the provincial government originally announced at AME BC’s Mineral Exploration Roundup in 2005, is an industry-led, not-for-profit, applied geoscience organization that works in partnership with industry, academia, government, First Nations and communities to fund applied geoscience projects with the objective to attract mineral and oil and gas exploration to British Columbia. As well, AME BC hosted a community fair with the Mineral Resources Education Program of BC that saw over 300 schoolchildren learning about earth science and the critical benefits that metals and minerals provide to their daily lives. Mining Week participants also celebrated the almost $1.5 million raised as part of Teck’s celebrity pie throw event in support of the Mining for Miracles campaign for the BC Children’s Hospital. This is but one example of how our industry generously gives back to society on top of honourably discovering, developing and producing the bare necessities of modern life.
With pride and responsibility, members of AME BC are successfully developing mineral resources not just here in B.C. or in Canada, but around the world. There are, however, some serious challenges facing the sector now and in the coming months and years, whether it is public policy and regulations regarding land access and use, extensive permitting delays, education and training or relationships with aboriginal communities. Over the summer, for instance, AME BC has been actively engaging the provincial government on reforming the mineral exploration permitting process and better coordinating the federal and provincial environmental assessment process. Furthermore, AME BC has successfully advocated for key incentives that promote economic development, such as extending the mineral exploration tax credit and increasing human resource initiatives and opportunities for women, new immigrants, aboriginals and rural community members.
Federally, AME BC witnessed the Conservatives win a majority government in Canada, and the New Democratic Party become the official opposition as a result of the May 2 election. Following this, AME BC, the Mining Association of BC and the Mining Suppliers Association of BC submitted recommendations to the federal Red Tape Reduction Commission. Also, Mona Forster, chairperson of AME BC, met with federal Environment Minister Peter Kent and federal Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver and discussed pertinent issues such as permitting reform and budget priorities. On June 6, the federal budget was tabled and passed in Parliament, including an extension to the 15 per-cent Mineral Exploration Tax Credit to March 31, 2012 and a commitment to continue the important work of cutting red tape in order to eliminate complex and overlapping regulatory requirements. AME BC commended the federal government’s prior contributions in support of aboriginal skills development, specifically the BC Aboriginal Mine Training Association (BC AMTA), which to date has more than 600 people enrolled in the program and has led to the employment of 149 people in family-supporting careers. As such, AME BC is lobbying for continued government funding of the BC AMTA.
AME BC’s Roundup Committee has been actively preparing for the 29th annual Mineral Exploration Roundup, “Celebrating our First Century of Global Discovery” taking place January 23 to January 26, 2012. On-line registration will be available in mid-September for the estimated 7,000+ delegates expected at the Westin Bayshore in Vancouver. As a reminder, the call for award nominations concludes September 30. Sponsorships, keynote speakers, short courses and special events are coming together smoothly for Roundup as well the Association’s 100-year anniversary celebration plans for 2012.
AME BC is one of the world’s leading mineral exploration and development associations. We are an advocate organization with 99 years of experience and a network of 4,000 members that explore not just here in British Columbia or Canada, but around the globe. If you are not already a member, I encourage you to visit the Association’s website at www.amebc.ca and sign up to be a member of AME BC at your next opportunity. On behalf of the staff and board of AME BC, I thank all the volunteers and members of the Association for their valuable contributions. Finally, please remember to have a safe day, every day as you enjoy the summer season and the excitement of “gold rush” fever wherever this message finds you.
Gavin C. Dirom, M.Sc., P. Ag.
President & CEO, AME BC
Printer Friendly Version
Gavin C. Dirom
M.Sc., P. Ag.
President & CEO,