Archive | British Columbia Mining

Mine Games – The Current State of Mining in British Columbia

BCBusiness, is British Columbia’s foremost business authority and the most widely read business publication in the province. This article was originally published January 01, 2009.

BCBusiness interviewed the following three key players about the current state of mining in British Columbia:

Terry Lyons-Chair Northgate Mineral Corp.

“In Canada there is no urgency to move projects to a “yes” or a “no.” And I will tell you over and over again, the industry doesn’t mind “no.” Say “no” and let us move on with our lives and our shareholders’ capital. But to waste five, six, seven, eight years because the bureaucrats in the government cannot make a decision or don’t want to make a decision doesn’t do anybody any good.”

Ken Boggio-PricewaterhousCooper LLP

“You look at China, for example: almost 7,000 privately held coal mines and reports that 250 or more people die each week in these coal mines. Do you want your steel being made from coal mined in China or would you prefer to have it come from the Fording properties in southeastern B.C.?”

Byng Giraud-Vice-President of Policy and Communications Mining Association of British Columbia

“We estimate between 25 and 30 projects in this province that could become mines are somewhere in the environmental testing or permitting process. And when I talk about political will or societal will to open a few extra mines in this province, that could mean the difference between recession and not. It’s that significant. We’re talking billions of dollars of capital investment and construction. Thousands of jobs. Building communities. The upside is huge.”

Mine Games

Sitting in a room with a group of high-profile insiders in the B.C. mining industry, the one thing that stands out is a sense of rejection, of an industry that built cities and towns across the province asking, “Do you want us here or not?”

Vancouver is a centre for mining in the world, with hundreds of companies engaged in raising money and spending it on far-flung geological studies, exploration missions, mine developments and extraction efforts. But when it comes to digging mines in B.C. itself, the picture is bleak. Mines across the province are reaching retirement age, and no promising young mines have come on scene to take their place since the mid-’90s.

Not that the province’s many miners aren’t trying. But the hurdles standing in the way of digging a new hole in B.C. are enormous, be they economic, social, environmental, logistic or simply bureaucratic. It’s enough to make miners wonder if they’re really welcome here at all.

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Debt Reduction Begins at Teck – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication. She is one of Canada’s most senior mining commentators.

Teck Cominco of Vancouver has announced the first steps of its debt reduction plans by suspending the 2009 dividend on its Class A common shares and Class B subordinate voting shares. The move is expected to result in annual savings of $486 million.

“Current global economic and financial market conditions dictate that we take all prudent steps available to us to significantly reduce spending,” said Don Lindsay, president and CEO. “The measures announced today, combined with previously announced tax savings, amount to $2.4 billion and should significantly enhance our ability to address our near-term debt obligations and better position Teck to refinance the bridge loan when conditions improve.”

The large number of cuts Teck is making is a measure of just how deep current global economic woes are. But management has a plan to conserve cash and prepare for better conditions in the future. From its news release dated Nov. 20, 2008, here are the details of its plan.

Sustaining Capital: Company-wide spending will be reduced to approximately $250 million for 2009, down from a forecast of $580 million for 2008. Teck’s operations have been well capitalized in recent years, creating an opportunity to defer sustaining capital costs while ensuring operations are maintained to a high standard.

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British Columbia Continues to Attract Gold Hunters – by Marilyn Scales

Marilyn Scales - Canadian Mining JournalMarilyn Scales is a field editor for the Canadian Mining Journal, Canada’s first mining publication.

Gold has been prized throughout history and remains one of the most sought-after metals today. In British Columbia gold was found along the Fraser River (1858), along the Peace River (1861) and in the interior (1865). Dawson Creek became the jumping off point for the great Klondike gold rush of 1898.

The modern gold prospector, spurred by high gold prices and with the help of sophisticated technology, is again scouring the map of British Columbia in hopes of striking it rich. News of bonanza grades is as welcome today as it was in the 19th Century.

For example, Pinnacle Mines (51%) and Mountain Boy Minerals (49%) recently reported grades as high as 81.57 g/t over 1.52 metres at their Silver Coin project near Stewart. A quick run through the metric calculator, and that is equivalent to over 2.4 oz/ton. Such grades bring a smile to most gold lovers I know. Plus the Silver Coin property appears to have recoverable amounts of silver, copper, zinc and lead.

Also in the Stewart area, drill core from Toronto’s Seabridge Gold’s Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell (KSM) project is not assaying high grades (it is generally less than 1.0 g/t Ag plus copper), but it is mineralized over exceptional lengths: 745 metres, 109 metres, 498 metres, 921 metres, 500 metres and so on. The company has circulated estimates of over 19.7 million oz of gold in indicated resources and 14.3 million oz in the inferred portion. If the gold grades don’t set a heart to fluttering, the millions of contained ounces should. (For readers of the base metal persuasion, the property may also host more than 8.0 billion lb of copper.)

The deposits described here may differ, but there is no doubt that the rush for the yellow metal in British Columbia never goes out of style.

Speech by Norman B. Keevil, Chairman, Teck Cominco Limited at the Mineral Exploration Roundup 2008 in Vancouver, January 29, 2008

It’s an honour to be asked to address Roundup on its 25th anniversary. Roundup has evolved a lot in those 25 years, from a relatively small conference with 350 attendees to its current status as one of the most important mining exploration conferences in the world, with over 6,000 participants this year.

And the world industry has changed a lot too. In fact, it has changed a lot in just the last 5 years.

It was just five years ago when I was asked to address Roundup on the subject of “Mining In The Next 20 Years”, — an attempt at predicting the future which I had to admit is a mug’s game at the best of times. Even the best professional economists can’t always get it right. They say economists have successfully predicted ten of the last five recessions.

I think we geologists balance them out. As natural optimists, we’ve less successfully predicted ten of the last five recoveries.

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Honourable Kevin Kruger – British Columbia Minister of State for Mining – The Canadian Institute Keynote Address in Vancouver


Thank you Tim, it’s a pleasure to be here.

Ladies and gentlemen . . .

I am happy to report that the mining industry is alive and well in British Columbia, and in for the long run.

I am very happy to report that the industry is pretty much thriving here in British Columbia.  Recently during Mining Week, we celebrated 150 years of mining in B.C. since we showed up but First Nations have made it very clear to me that they were mining a number of quantities for thousands of years before European contact. So I try to make sure to mention that each time I am talking about our century-and-a-half of experience in the industry. 


We call it the B.C. Mining Success Story, and it’s a story that I am certain that everyone here this morning is familiar with.
In conjunction with Mining Week . . .  the Mining Association of British Columbia released the 40th annual PricewaterhouseCoopers report card on the state of the industry and it tabulated the results of forty mining companies that responded.

The report found that mining in B.C. is a $6.9 billion industry . . .

that 2007 was another excellent year for the B.C. mining industry . . .

gross revenues remain very strong, even though they were reduced somewhat by coal prices which bumped along around $80 dollars a tonne average. They have been better in 2006 and volumes were slightly down as well but present day companies are signing contracts for $300 dollars a tonne and it is looking like 2008 will be a banner year.

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Honourable Kevin Krueger – British Columbia Minister of State for Mining – An Introduction

Honourable Kevin Krueger - British Columbia Minister of State for MiningKevin Krueger was appointed Minister of State for Mining on February 7, 2007.

Kevin was re-elected as MLA for Kamloops-North Thompson in 2005 after being elected in 1996 and re-elected in 2001. He was named as Parliamentary Secretary to the Premier responsible for Rural Development in the fall of 2006. Kevin is also a member of the Government Caucus Committee on Natural Resources and Economy, where he previously served as Chair.

While in Opposition, Kevin served as the Critic for Labour. Kevin served as the Caucus Whip as well as a member of the Select Standing Committee on Education. Kevin was named to the Legislative Standing Committees for Committee of Selection and the Special Committee for the Citizen’s Assembly on Electoral Reform. He was also a member of the Legislative Assembly Management Committee. He previously was a member of the Small Scale Salvage Committee.

Before becoming an MLA, Kevin worked with the Insurance Corporation of BC for 20 years, and at the time of his departure was a road safety regional manager.

His community work includes the Kamloops Chamber of Commerce, Kamloops Community Counterattack Committee, Rotary Club past-president, co-ordinator with the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and secretary of the Protocol Committee for the 1993 Canada Summer Games. He arranged the twinning of the Rotary Clubs of Kamloops and Uji, Japan. He is a former board member, executive councillor and shop steward of the Office and Technical Employees Union, Local 378. He was a director of the Prince George and District Credit Union.

Kevin and his wife, Debbie, a school teacher, have six children, including a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and a soon-to-be daughter-in-law. They are the proud grandparents of six grandchildren.

Excerpt from Michael Barnes New Book – More Than Free Gold: Mineral Exploration in Canada Since World War II

2006 Mining Activity in British ColumbiaHidden in the Rock – Porphyries (British Columbia)

Those who seek minerals in porphyries would be advised to follow the old adage, “Go west young geologist,” as this form of igneous activity is found in young rock with large crystals. Deposits are usually large but the trade-off is in low-grade mineralization. The name porphyry comes from the Latin for its colour purple and has associations with royal or imperial qualities dating back to the Romans. In Canada, British Columbia enjoys the lion’s share of this rock, which contains the largest resources of copper, significant molybdenum and 50% of the gold in the province.

British Columbia is copper-rich, and mining of the metal commenced in the late nineteenth century. Many mines have been worked in the province over the past 125 years, and there are currently still some porphyry deposits of interest. Continue Reading →