Minister of Energy and Mines Rich Coleman announced B.C. experienced its second consecutive year of rising mineral exploration expenditures in 2011, as the mineral exploration and mining industry continued a dramatic upward trend.
The preliminary regional estimates for exploration expenditures are $463 million in 2011, up 35 per cent from $341 million in 2010. It also represents a 1,500 per cent increase over the 2001 figure of $29 million.
Mining exploration expenditures set the stage for higher production volumes, continued capital investment and greater employment. In 2011, the total value of mineral sales in the province is estimated to have risen to $8.6 billion from $7.1 billion in 2010, an increase of more than 20 per cent.
B.C.'s mining industry also invested more than $2.1 billion to upgrade capital equipment, expand existing operations and develop new mines last year.
Today, two major mines are under construction in the province - Mt. Milligan copper gold mine between Fort St. James and Mackenzie and New Afton copper gold mine near Kamloops. The Province also recently permitted Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd.'s Bonanza Ledge property in December 2011, with construction expected to start this year.
The mining industry and related minerals sectors employed over 29,000 people in 2011. The 'Canada Starts Here: BC's Job Plan' commitment to expand nine mines and open eight additional mines by 2015, is expected to generate an increase of mine-operation revenue estimated at $1.6 billion per year once these projects are fully operational and create about 1,800 new and sustain more than 5,000 jobs because of longer mine lives.
The province proclaimed Jan. 22 to 28, 2012, Mineral Exploration week.
- Mining Exploration Tax Credit provides a 20 per cent refundable tax credit for companies.
- Mining Flow Through Share Tax Credit provides a non-refundable 20 per cent tax credit. This incentive makes the cost of eligible exploration the second-lowest in the country.
- New Mine Allowance provides the equivalent of a 133.3 per cent deduction of capital costs for mines that commence or expand production before Jan. 1, 2016.
- B.C is the first province in Canada to share direct revenue generated from mining with First Nations. Two agreements have been reached, and a number are under negotiation.
- The British Columbia Geological Survey has supported the mineral exploration industry for more than 100 years by providing new geological maps and other geoscience data, acting as the provincial custodian for all geoscience data and delivering this information via MapPlace, an award-winning Internet display tool that is among the best in the world.
Ministry of Energy and Mines