Helicopter maps mineral potential in remote areas using magnetic imaging. (Geoscience BC)

B.C. mineral exploration permits taking longer: survey

Investor confidence better in Sweden, Australia, executives say

The B.C. government has spent millions over the years to increase mineral exploration, but a survey of company executives suggests increasing worry about whether mining projects can receive the permits they need in a reasonable time.

Time and transparency of the permit process were increasing concerns of investors in B.C., Ontario and Quebec, according to an annual survey comparing Canada to other countries, released Tuesday by the Fraser Institute. The economic think tank has been surveying mining industry decision-makers since 1997.

Respondents to the 2017 survey indicated that permit approval times have lengthened in the past decade in B.C., Ontario and Quebec, compared with results from Australia and Scandinavia. The survey showed that confidence the necessary permits would be granted is also higher in the U.S.

Mining exploration across B.C.’s Interior has been a major focus for B.C. The previous government financed aerial magnetic surveys by Geoscience BC to look for signs of metal and mineral deposits across a vast area covered by glacial material from the past Ice Age.

RELATED: B.C. promotes search for new mines

Geoscience BC has conducted 135 projects to assemble new scientific data for about half of the province’s area. The largest geophysical survey ever conducted in B.C. was done in 2016, financed by a $5 million grant from the province.

“An increasingly opaque and confusing application process for companies to explore for mineral deposits deters investment and ultimately hinders Canada’s ability to realize its considerable resource potential,” said Kenneth Green, co-author of Permit Times for Mining Exploration in 2017.

B.C.’s minority NDP government has embarked on a review of industrial project approvals to target what Environment Minister George Heyman called “failures in the professional reliance model in B.C. so that British Columbians’ faith in resource development can be restored.”

A consultant’s report recommending a new “office of professional regulation and oversight” for foresters, engineers, biologists and other professions was greeted with alarm by industry leaders.

Business Council of B.C. president Greg D’Avignon called the report “a solution looking for a problem that confuses regulatory capacity in government with the role of qualified professionals who design projects and conduct environmental surveys.”


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC legislaturemining

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

When crisis hits: How West Shore RCMP have dealt with the pandemic

More front-line officers on road in mobile offices

Sidney staff recommends additional outdoor seating for restaurants and cafes

Report before council also leaves open possibility of closing a portion of Beacon Avenue

‘Depression-era’ unemployment figures could hit Greater Victoria

South Island Prosperity Project launches new dashboard to measure effects of COVID-19

French fries to juicy tomatoes, rock art brings joy to walkers in Victoria

James Bay yard filled with painted rocks delights all ages

Langford bartender hosts singalong livestream for seniors

Live Senior Singalong takes place daily at 1 p.m. on Facebook

LIVE: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

RCMP facing ‘systemic sustainability challenges’ due to provincial policing role

Provinces, territories and municipalities pay anywhere from 70 to 90 per cent of the cost of the RCMP’s services

One man dead after standoff with Chilliwack RCMP

The Independent Investigations Office of B.C. is investigating the RCMP’s role in the death

B.C. employers worry about safety, cash flow, second wave in COVID-19 restart

A survey found 75 per cent of businesses worry about attracting customers

Ex-BC Greens leader Andrew Weaver says province came close to early election

Disagreement centred on the LNG Canada project in northern B.C.

Canada’s NHL teams offer options to season-ticket holders

Canadian teams are offering refunds, but also are pushing a number of incentives to let them keep the money

B.C. premier says lessons to learn from past racism during response to pandemic

B.C. formally apologized in the legislature chamber in 2008 for its role in the Komagata Maru tragedy

Snowbirds to remain at Kamloops Airport indefinitely after fatal crash

small contingent of the Snowbirds team is staying in Kamloops, acting as stewards of the jets

Most Read