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Doug’s 2-minute statement on Minerals North 2016
There will be some people rocking it out in Smithers, and it's not just because Grammy-nominated hometown musician Alex Cuba is playing Thursday night. Rocking is it with the annual Minerals North Conference hosted by Smithers and Telkwa this Wednesday to Friday.
Mineral exploration spending was $272 million in B.C. in 2015, and about half that was spent in the northwest, supporting local jobs and companies. Estimates are that it takes 100 advanced exploration projects to eventually lead to one profitable mine in B.C. Getting to that final outcome requires not only starting with grassroots exploration and the right commodity prices but, in the end, a lot of public and investor confidence.
The theme of Minerals North 2016 is "Excellence through innovation." The agenda looks great, and northwest regional geologist and organizing committee member Jeff Kyba tells me that the session on aboriginal title is getting a lot of attention. That is very timely, as the annual global mining survey conducted by the Fraser Institute showed that B.C. finished eighth from last out of 109 jurisdictions on uncertainty concerning disputed land claims. So there is much work to be done regarding investor confidence when it comes to the government approach on aboriginal title.
Another agenda panel on sustainability, responsibility and environment is also very timely in light of the recent Auditor General's report concluding that neither the Ministry of Mines nor the Ministry of Environment are conducting adequate monitoring and site inspections and do not have the resources to do so. Public support of mining depends on confidence in government to ensure environmental risk and damage is understood and controlled.
As Jeff Kyba said: "It was about making the conference real, talking about things that are on people's minds." Thanks to Jeff and all members of the organizing committee. I look forward to attending, and especially, hearing if Jeff and northeast regional geologist Paul Jago can top their musical rendition of "Heart of Gold," which they performed a couple of years ago. Rock on, indeed.