Premier promises B.C. mines will be able to defer power bills – by Derrick Penner (Vancouver Sun – January 25, 2016)

VANCOUVER – The province will let struggling B.C. mines defer electricity bills to help them weather the current downturn in commodity markets, Premier Christy Clark said Monday.

The details have yet to be finalized on exactly how deferments will be implemented, Clark said, and they can only be use a measure of last resort. But Clark promised the crowd gathered for the opening of the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C.’s annual conference that the policy will be an example of how “we’ve got your back” in tough times.

“It can’t be a subsidy that puts taxpayers at risk,” Clark said. “But we also know that getting it right means understanding that jobs and entire communities are at stake.”Such a measure would offer meaningful relief to mining companies facing escalating power costs during a steep economic downturn, said Karina Brino, CEO of the Mining Association of B.C.

“Depending on the operation, electricity costs sometimes come right after labour (in terms of a mine’s operating costs),” Brino said. However, she added it is difficult to know how much deferments will help, without more details.

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