B.C. appoints 12-member task force to review, strengthen mining industry

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has appointed a 12-member task force of industry, Indigenous and labour leaders to measure the current state the provincial mining industry and to ensure its security.

Mines Minister Michelle Mungall says the group will provide an economic analysis of the mining sector and offer the recommendations to ensure job security for the industry during times of commodity price fluctuations.

Mungall says the task force has until this November to submit a report to her ministry, including recommendations for changes or amendments to current legislation or regulations.

The task force members including Tumbler Ridge Mayor Don McPherson, Tom Syer of Teck Resources Ltd., Michelle Laurie with the United Steelworkers Western Canada, and Mark Podlasly, a senior adviser with the First Nations Energy and Mining Council.

Mungall says she expects the task force to examine all aspects of mineral exploration and mining in B.C.

The government says B.C.’s mining sector provides more than 30,000 jobs and generates more than $6 billion annually to the provincial economy.

Industry lawyer Brian Abraham says the task force will give the industry and those connected to mining the opportunity to provide direct input on policy and direction to the government. Abraham says he expects the task force to generate a consensus-based report the government can use to map future directions.

“The government will presumably be able to rely on that and move forward and help the industry as it grows,” said Abraham, whose law firm Dentons Canada represents mining companies.

He said many people are under the impression mining is a largely rural and remote industry but much of the traffic in the Port of Vancouver is connected to the mining industry.

“Vancouver is the mining exploration capital of the world,” said Abraham. “If you need expertise, it’s in Vancouver.”

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