NEWS RELEASE: Fraser Institute’s Survey of Mining Companies shows British Columbia’s steady improvement

Vancouver, BC – February 23, 2012 – Today, the Association for Mineral Exploration BC (AME BC) responded to the Fraser Institute’s rankings of mining companies’ perceptions of British Columbia. Although the province shows steady improvement in perception, not all policy improvements have been fully recognized in the survey results announced this year. BC has moved up the rankings to 31st out of 93 jurisdictions in the survey’s Policy Potential Index, up from 36th out of 79 jurisdictions included in 2011.

“British Columbia’s government worked throughout 2011 to provide further resources to agencies responsible for the industry, improve consultation timelines with aboriginal communities and address permitting efficiency,” said Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO of AME BC.

“While we know that some very important challenges still need be addressed – particularly in land access and use matters – it’s fair to say that in the past year, the BC government has taken a number of coordinated and strategic measures to tackle many of the challenges identified by AME BC.

Over the past year, the provincial government has committed $24 million to improving the permitting process and $12 million to Geoscience BC; maintained favourable tax incentives; added public geoscientist capacity; and has begun to address human resources challenges through joint initiatives with industry, aboriginal communities and educators. It has also started to meaningfully address the compensation matters related to the Flathead Valley and uranium exploration.” 

“While we recognize people’s perceptions of British Columbia take time to change, we see a dramatic, positive change happening in the province,” said Michael McPhie, Chair of AME BC. “This is evidenced by the increase in actual exploration spending over the past 11 years. During that time, annual spending on mineral exploration has increased from $32 million to $463 million, which is a 1300% increase. Further, BC’s share of spending nationally as compared to other provinces and territories has gone from 5.7% to 15.2% percent. The fact that the Fraser Institute does not take into account this empirical and fully validated data on actual levels of investment is, in our view, a significant shortcoming of the survey methodology employed by the Institute. These numbers suggest a much different picture than the one being suggested by this perception survey of a relatively small sample size.”

“We look forward to working with the Fraser Institute’s Global Centre of Mining Studies in the future to improve on their survey methodology to provide a more accurate view of actual investment trends and issues influencing investment decisions by the mineral exploration industry in the future,” concluded McPhie.

About AME BC:

AME BC is the predominant voice of mineral exploration and development in British Columbia. Established in 1912, AME BC represents over 4,700 members including geoscientists, prospectors, engineers, entrepreneurs, exploration companies, suppliers, mineral producers and associations who are engaged in mineral exploration and mine development in BC and throughout the world.

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For further information, please contact Jonathan Buchanan, Director, Communications & Public Affairs, AME BC, at 604.630.3923 or [email protected]

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