B.C. mining group takes concerns to prospectors convention in Toronto

VANCOUVER – A British Columbia mining advocate is taking its complaints about murky and restrictive legislation to a meeting in Ontario.

The Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia believes the future of mining exploration and development is at risk because of a decreasing land base.

The annual convention of the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada is underway in Toronto.

A release from the B.C. group said four per cent of provincial land was closed to mining in 1977, but more than 18 per cent is now closed while a further 33 per cent is subject to tough restrictions.

The B.C. association said Canada’s base metal reserves are declining as fewer discoveries are being made.

With access to mineral lands shrinking at unprecedented rates, fewer jobs and economic opportunities will be created in Canada’s mineral exploration industry, it said.

A recent report by the B.C. group said mining companies are also facing increasingly complex legislation governing land access and use.

“(The B.C. association) is working with the provincial government to streamline and clarify land use regulations and plans,” said chairwoman Diane Nicolson of the mineral exploration association.

“We believe that it is possible to have both a strong and active mineral exploration and development industry and a sustainable, healthy environment,” she said.

Gavin Dirom, the president and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia, said a national conversation is needed on how restrictions to mining are affecting the industry across Canada.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said Gavin Dirom is the president of the prospectors and developers association.