[VIDEO] Clark Announces New Funding to Support Mining in British Columbia
British Columbia’s mining sector is getting a makeover.
On Monday, BC Premier Christy Clark announced plans to increase the base budget for the Ministry of Energy and Mines by $6 million, as well as help to establish a Major Mines Permitting Office to improve mine permitting and turnaround times for notice of work permits.
“Up to 10 new mines are expected to proceed in the next few years and this new funding will make sure we are ready to support these projects and ensure the safety of this important industry as it continues to grow,” said Premier Christy Clark.
"B.C.’s mineral exploration and mining industry is a great comeback story and today we have a significant opportunity to create thousands of jobs by opening new mines and expanding existing ones."
As of today, there are currently 30 mining projects in the environmental assessment and permitting processes. Only 10 of those, however, will actually proceed in the next few years.
• The Avanti Kitsault project, located in Northwestern B.C., just received its environmental assessment certificate in March 2013. The project will employ 30 workers for the next 15 years.
• In 2012, the Red Chris mine in Northwestern B.C. received its mines act permit. The project is expected to create 300 new jobs.
• The Seabridge Gold’s KSM project, which received its environmental assessment certificate in 2014, is expected to employ over 1,000 employees for the next 50 years.
“[The] Government understands that resource development is the backbone of our economy, creating local demand for goods and services and supporting tens of thousands of family-sustaining jobs throughout communities across B.C,” said government spokesperson, David Haslam.
The government also announced it will extend the $10 million mining flow-through share tax credit program to the end of 2015 to support investment in mining exploration. In addition, new permit fees for mines in B.C. are expected to raise an additional $3 million per year, however, exploration companies will not be charge.
“Today’s announcement of the Major Mines Permitting Office demonstrates that the government continues to take steps each year to improve the permitting process for the industry,” said Gavin C. Dirom, president and CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia.
“And we appreciate that permitting fees will not be applied to exploration activities because such activities do not generate revenue. We are also very pleased to see the continuation of the flow-through share program for 2015, which will encourage more companies to explore for minerals in the province.”
Since 2001, B.C. has increased its exploration spending in Canada from 6 percent to 21 percent. Five new mines have opened, creating over 1,300 new jobs, and seven major mine expansions have been given approval. Currently, BC’s mining sector employs approximately 30,000 workers with an average annual salary of $114,000.
Lynas revenue jumps 21% as rare earth prices jump
Australian miner Lynas Rare Earths posted a 20.6% rise in revenue in the March quarter as selling prices for the key metals it mines hit record highs amid strong demand, particularly for neodymium and praseodymium (NdPr).
NdPr is used in magnets for electric vehicles and windfarms, in consumer goods like smartphones, and in military equipment such as jet engines and missile guidance systems.
The company said it plans to maintain production at 75% however, as it seeks to continue to meet covid-19 safety protocols and grapples with shipping difficulties. Shares in Lynas fell 6.1% after the results.
“They have faced a few logistics issues, and it would be good to know when they are going to start lifting their utilisation rates a bit,” said portfolio manager Andy Forster of Argo Investments in Sydney.
“Pricing has been pretty strong although it may have peeled back a bit recently. I still think the medium, long-term outlook is pretty good for their suite of products.”
Lynas post ed revenue of A$110mn ($85.37mn) for the three months to the end of March, up from A$91.2mn a year earlier as prices soared.
It said its full product range garnered average selling prices of A$35.5/kg during the March quarter, up from $23.7 in the first half of the financial year. “While the persistence of the covid crisis, especially in Europe, calls for careful forecasts for our business ahead, we see the rare earth market recovering very quickly,” said Lynas, the world’s largest rare earths producer outside China.
Freight demand has spiked during the pandemic, while the blockage of the Suez Canal in March delayed a shipment to April.
Lynas’ output of 4,463 tonnes of rare earth oxide (REO) during the quarter was marginally lower than 4,465 tonnes from a year earlier.