The provincial government has made great strides in removing red tape and creating certainty for the mining and exploration industry. For example, the backlog in permit applications has been greatly reduced and new permits have a 60-day turnaround target. Staffing levels have also been doubled and the government has reached an 81-day average turnaround.
Progress has also been made toward introducing multi-year and multi-area permitting, and I hear an online permit tracking system is being introduced soon.
So why is this important to your average reader? Mining exploration is a low-risk, high-return activity for workers in B.C. The industry also maintains world-leading health, safety and environmental standards. And the environmental review processes are stringent, fair and science-based.
However, these no-margin small businesses are still required to go through two duplicate environmental reviews. So, more clearly needs to be done to support mining and exploration in B.C. This unneeded duplication of review processes adds years of time and millions and millions of dollars to the cost of launching a new mine in B.C.
So why care? Because, based on annual gross revenues of $10 Billion versus the cost to government to support the sector, this industry provides a remarkable return on investment of three hundred to one. Any banker, financial adviser or even grade seven student would tell you those are numbers to pursue. So, let’s keep finding ways to support the mining and exploration sector in B.C.