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May 16, 2013 --- Vol. 07, No. 20May 2013

Mining supportive Clark defies pollsters in B.C. election victory

Despite polls that predicted Adrian Dix would lead the New Democratic Party to a landslide victory in British Columbia, underdogs BC Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberal Party emerged as the winners in the province’s May 14 election.

BC Liberals, which pollsters had trailing by as much as nine percentage points in the days leading up to the election, took 44.4 percent of the vote against 39.5 percent for the NDP. As a result, Clark was re-elected and the BC Liberals increased the number of seats they hold in the BC Legislature from 45 to 50.

Congratulating Clark and the BC Liberals on their win, the Association for Mineral Exploration BC said it looks forward to working with the re-elected majority government to position Canada’s Pacific province competitively, attract investment and take full strategic advantage of the global demand for B.C.’s metal, coal and mineral resources.

“We look forward to four more years of working with a supportive government that recognizes the value of mineral exploration and mining to B.C.’s economic well-being,” said AME BC Chair Michael McPhie.

As a precursor to the campaign to come, Clark delivered a rousing opening address at AME BC’s 2013 Mineral Exploration Roundup in January.

“British Columbia is blessed with an abundant supply of the resources the world needs and the most innovative mining and exploration sectors,” Clark touted.

During her address to the mining community gathered in Vancouver, B.C., Clark was the first to announce the market-defying C$680 million of mineral exploration spending in BC during 2012, which shattered the previous record of C$462 million set a year earlier.

“We are stable in British Columbia, despite a very difficult international economy, and we’re growing. It happened because we were purposeful; because we set a goal; because we knew it was important to unleash the dreams, the investment and the energy of the private sector,” Clark said.

In September 2011, Clark rolled out “Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan,” an initiative that includes a commitment to the creation of eight new mines and the expansion of another nine mines currently operating in British Columbia by 2015.

“When we set those targets in the jobs plan, 17 new and expanded mines by 2015, there were skeptics. There were many people who said it wasn’t worth the paper it was written on,” Clark told attendees of the AME BC 2013 Mineral Exploration Roundup, held in January. “We are already halfway there. Since 2011, three new mines are in production and three are under construction; (and) five major mines have received approval to expand – Highland Valley, Huckleberry, Quincel, Elk View and Endako.”

Reducing the backlog of notice of work applications, along with land act and water act authorizations, was another objective of the BC Jobs Plan. To address this bottleneck, nearly C$24 million was directed to reduce the time it takes for businesses wanting to invest in natural resource development to get decisions on authorizations, without compromising environmental values or the requirement to consult with First Nations.

“We reduced the backlog for water and land tenures by 53 percent for land and 48 percent for water,” Clark touted during her January speech. “Average turnaround time for all new notice of work applications has been reduced from 110 days on the day I took over as premier down to the current 80 days.”

“Our next goal is to get from 80 days to 60 and to do that is going to mean additional investments. So we are going to invest C$7 million over the next six months to focus on the backlog,” she added.

The premier’s January address had fervor equal to the coming election.

“My job, on your behalf, is to let the rest of the world know that we are open for business here in British Columbia – that we are home to the most innovative, environmentally responsible, imaginative mining sector that you will find anywhere on the globe,” Clark rallied.

The premier wrapped up her rousing speech by proclaiming Jan. 27 to Feb. 2 as Mineral Exploration Week in British Columbia.

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