Karina Briño is president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia.
Mining Week is a time when British Columbians have the opportunity to celebrate an industry that has greatly contributed to the prosperity of this province since before it joined Confederation in 1871.
Mining operations provide payments to government that help fund health care, social programs and education, and create thousands of jobs across the province. British Columbia is a global centre for mining and is home to some of the most innovative, sustainable mining companies in the world. Thanks to its diverse geology, the province is rich in high quality mineral resources, in every corner of the province.
Despite all these advantages, 2014 was a challenging year for the B.C. mining industry. Largely due to falling commodity prices, several operating mines were placed in care and maintenance, resulting in workforce reductions, primarily in the North Eastern corner of the province. These external pressures are continuing in 2015.
Notwithstanding these challenges, there are a significant number of projects in the approval process which provide an opportunity for growth of the mining industry, further strengthening the provincial economy.
In these challenging global market conditions, it is increasingly important for B.C. to maintain its reputation as a competitive global mining jurisdiction.
The competitiveness of B.C. as a mining jurisdiction depends on several factors, most important that there is an effective and predictable regulatory process that is consistent, efficient and transparent. It depends on technology and innovation, drawing largely from the incredibly talented and dedicated workforce that calls B.C. home. Our competitiveness also hinges on how our industry is perceived regarding our environmental sustainability and engagement with communities, especially First Nations communities, in the areas in which we operate.
The industry is one of the largest private sector employers of First Nations peoples in B.C. Our industry is committed to increasing the participation of First Nations in mining activity by creating meaningful relationships and partnerships across the province.
The Supreme Court of Canada decision on the Roger William case clarified the definition of Aboriginal Title and confirmed the application of provincial law and regulation on the land base. The mining industry not only respects the decision made by the Highest Court in Canada, but we also regard it as a positive step toward reconciliation and we look forward to continuing to work with all governments to better understand the process for resource development in designated title area.
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