Premier Christy Clark announced at Roundup 2017 today that the B.C. government will provide Geoscience BC with $10 million in funding over two years to further support its work in encouraging mineral, coal, and oil and gas exploration investment in the province, and is also extending and enhancing tax incentives to increase mineral exploration throughout the province.
“Public geoscience is integral to the long-term success of the mining industry in B.C. and every single dollar invested is returned five times over to British Columbians,” said Premier Clark. “We’re also providing tax incentives to make sure that mineral exploration companies choose B.C. as the place to do business – that translates to more family-supporting jobs and grows our economy.”
The Province is extending the B.C. mining flow-through share tax credit to Dec. 31, 2017. The previous tax credit, which makes the province more attractive to the exploration sector, expired Dec. 31, 2016. B.C. is also amending the provincial Income Tax Act to make environmental studies and community consultations eligible for B.C.’s mining exploration tax credit, which mirrors a similar incentive now provided by the federal government. The tax changes are subject to the approval of the Legislative Assembly.
“Today we have more than 30,000 people working in mineral exploration, mining and related sectors, and that’s double the number employed in 2001,” said Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett. “Mineral exploration investment is by its nature risky. These tax incentives and the geoscience funding will encourage investment in early-stage exploration that ultimately leads to major mine investments and new jobs.”
Every $1 invested in new mining-related public geoscience data attracts $5 in exploration investment, and substantially more with new discoveries. Geoscience information acts as knowledge infrastructure to reduce risk to companies and influences them to choose B.C. over other jurisdictions as a destination for their investment. These investments lead to identifying new mineral resources and ultimately to developing new mines.
An example of the type of return that come from publicly-available geoscience includes the Brucejack gold mine currently under construction near Stewart. It is a $900 million project that is employing 900 workers during construction and, when completed, will provide decades of wealth generation for 300 permanent workers, governments and the company.
“Thank you to Premier Clark and Minister Bennett for providing Geoscience BC with this two-year funding,” said Robin Archdekin, president and CEO, Geoscience BC. “This funding certainty will ensure that the Geoscience BC continues to undertake independent earth-science research that supports government objectives, as well providing investor and public confidence in the mineral and oil and gas sectors.”
More than $4.4 billion has been invested in mineral exploration in B.C. since 2001, an average of around $280 million per year. Mineral exploration is a high-risk investment and tax incentives encourage companies to take on this risk, which leads to on-the-ground exploration activies.
“Having the B.C. government extend the mining flow-through share tax credit and make environmental studies and community consultations eligible for the mining exploration tax credit is great news,” said Gavin C. Dirom, president and CEO, Association for Mineral Exploration. “These tax credits will help B.C. continue to be one of the most attractive places in Canada for our members to invest in mineral exploration activities.”
Development of mineral and oil and gas resources leads to new infrastructure – such as roads and electrical infrastructure – which are catalysts for broader regional economic development and increased government revenues. Geoscience research is a critical component to this development.
Geoscience BC was established in 2005 through an initial $25-million investment from the B.C. government. Since that time, and including the funding announced today, the Province has provided it with $71.7 million in funding to help further mineral and energy geoscience initiatives. Geoscience BC has also secured more than $23 million in additional funding from the resource sector, academia and other government sources. B.C. is the only province in Canada that utilizes an organization such as Geoscience BC to assist in the delivery of public geoscience.
Geoscience BC: www.geosciencebc.com
Association for Mineral Exploration: www.amebc.ca
British Columbia Geological Survey: www.empr.gov.bc.ca/MINING/GEOSCIENCE/Pages/default.aspx