Major parties tout plans for the future of mining – by Albert Van Santvoort (Business Vancouver – May 1, 2017)

Question of whether government should be industry overseer or collaborator is at centre of resource platforms of Liberals, NDP and Greens

The concerns of the mining industry have not been featured as prominently this provincial election cycle as they have in the past. In the 1990s, investment in mineral exploration was at a 20-year low, with large swaths of capital and people leaving the provincial mining sector. The industry wanted change.

In 2017, the mining industry is less vocal – and that’s likely a sign of the stability of British Columbia mining sector, says Stewart Muir, executive director of the Resource Works industry advocacy group. “This is not a phase where B.C. mining and exploration have any big asks of government,” Muir said. “If things were to continue more or less as they are, they would be in a good place.”

Yet while the BC Liberal government has faced criticism that it has too cozy a relationship with the mining industry – a CBC analysis released in April found that the party had received $4.7 million in industry donations over 10 years – the industry itself still has some concerns about B.C. government policies.

In February the Fraser Institute released a report finding that B.C. had the longest mine-permit process in Canada. The report was based on a survey of global mining executives, 60% of whom said wait times have lengthened in the province.

There are also a number of non-industry issues. The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples highlights concerns about violations of aboriginal land rights. Union and environmental concerns also mean that some parties have platform proposals that both help and hurt the mining industry.

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