Opinion: Mining vital to B.C.’s future – by Karina Briño (Vancouver Sun – May 8, 2016)


Karina Briño is president and CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia.

British Columbia’s geology is rich in diverse mineral deposits in every corner of the province. B.C. is Canada’s largest producer of copper, largest exporter of steelmaking coal and only producer of molybdenum.

These products play a critical role in contributing to society’s transition to a low-carbon economy — from the copper used in electric cars to the steelmaking coal required to build public transit infrastructure as well as wind turbines and solar panels.

The mining industry in B.C. is currently facing a difficult time. Commodity prices have been in decline for several years, notably B.C.’s principal commodities; steelmaking coal and copper. Operators have been adapting accordingly by reducing costs and focusing on productivity.

Despite best efforts over the past 18 months, several operating mines have had to make the incredibly difficult decision to temporarily cease operations, which has affected more than 20 per cent of the industry’s total direct workforce, as well as supplier jobs, families and economic activity in communities across the province.

While some operating mines have suspended activity until prices recover, many projects continue to advance. Examples include Pretium’s Brucejack Project and JDS Silver’s Silvertip Project, which are both in construction and moving to production.

Mining continues to be an important part of the Vancouver economy, employing thousands of people in mining company head offices as well as suppliers to the industry, including everything from construction and engineering firms to lawyers, accountants and consultants.

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