Economic downturn hits B.C. mining exploration hard – by Derrick Penner (Vancouver Sun – January 22, 2016)

http://www.vancouversun.com/

Rob McLeod’s IDM Mining Ltd. raised $2.6 million at the close of the year to advance its Red Mountain project in British Columbia’s northwest, making it one of the bright lights on an otherwise gloomy horizon for the province’s mining exploration sector.

Typically a powerhouse presence in Vancouver’s downtown business community, mining exploration is headed into the fifth year of a brutal downturn in mining overall that has vaporized the market value of companies, making venture capital almost non-existent for grassroots exploration.

“If you had asked me last year, I would have said how bad it was in January 2015,” McLeod said. “It’s even worse this year — it’s full-blown capitulation.”

Some B.C. companies, such as IDM, are still advancing mineral discoveries. The Ministry of Energy and Mines highlights dozens of exploration projects in its annual report, published in the winter edition of the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C. (AME B.C.) magazine.

The report said “exploration continued to slow in 2015,” following the trend that started in 2011 with a drop-off in early-stage exploration and was followed in 2013 with a decline in more advanced projects.

That has meant continued job losses among mining and exploration companies and suppliers in Vancouver’s professional-services sector and a continuing erosion of a cluster, once estimated at 800 companies, that makes it one of the biggest sectors in the city’s office market.

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