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C$36bn in critical mineral investment at stake in BC

The Red Chris mine produces gold and copper

The Red Chris mine produces gold and copper

8th January 2024

By: Creamer Media Reporter

     

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Sixteen proposed critical mineral mines, representing C$36-billion in near-term investment, 300 000 person-years of employment and C$11-billion in tax revenues, are at a key juncture, based on findings of a new independent economic impact analysis conducted for the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC).

“The realisation of benefits from these critical mineral projects is dependent on BC having competitive fiscal and regulatory policies that will attract the investment necessary to grow and sustain the sector. The provincial government’s forthcoming critical minerals strategy is fundamental to these efforts,” said MABC president and CEO Michael Goehring on Monday.

The study, which examined 14 potential critical mineral mines and two mine extensions, found the long-term economic impact of operating these mines over several decades could be nearly C$800-billion.

Critical minerals are essential building blocks for clean technologies such as solar panels, batteries and electric vehicles. According to the International Energy Agency, global demand for critical minerals is expected to increase sixfold by 2040.

“This is a generational opportunity which must be seized and could position BC as a leading global supplier of responsibly-produced critical minerals. We want to move forward with the governments of Canada and British Columbia, First Nations, local governments, and labour, to unlock critical mineral developments for the benefit of all British Columbians,” said Goehring.

“The proposed critical mineral projects also create genuine opportunities for First Nations partnerships to advance economic reconciliation, prosperity, and self-determination,” he added.

Developing British Columbia’s critical mineral resources means billions in economic development and thousands of high-paying jobs. Critical minerals also offer a real opportunity to accelerate economic reconciliation with First Nations while making a sizeable contribution to climate action.

Yet British Columbia has a reputation as a high-cost jurisdiction where it is difficult to get projects done.

"We lag other competing jurisdictions like Ontario and Quebec who have launched and funded strategies and are taking bold policy actions to attract investment in their critical mineral sectors. The BC government’s forthcoming Critical Mineral Strategy presents an opportunity to change this and improve our competitive position. The federal Critical Minerals Strategy and recent budgets also provide useful tax measures to help develop our critical minerals resources," the report states.

MABC engaged Mansfield Consulting to assess the potential economic impact of proposed new critical mineral mines and extensions to existing critical mineral mines in the province.

The study also evaluated the potential economic impact of proposed new precious metals mines in the province.

The study considers the economic benefits resulting from advancing five proposed precious metal mines, including gold. The long-term combined impact of the proposed precious metal mines over their lifespan exceeds C$29.5-billion, creating over 96 000 person-years of employment and generating $5.3-billion in tax revenue.

“With the right government policy, these critical and precious mineral projects would further advance the mining and smelting sector’s foundational role in BC’s economy which includes well-paid family-supporting jobs and opportunities for service and supply businesses in both rural and urban communities,” added Goehring.

There are currently ten metal mines, seven steelmaking coal mines and two smelters operating in British Columbia, which has long been regarded as a key global mining jurisdiction and is home to one of the largest concentrations of mining expertise in the world.

The province is Canada’s leading producer of copper and steelmaking coal, second largest producer of silver, and only producer of molybdenum. More than 1 100 publicly listed exploration companies call Metro Vancouver home.

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter

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