As Mines Minister, I believe it is my job to encourage new mines in B.C. I am proud of the fact that I was able to travel to Ottawa twice to explain that under the province’s comprehensive environmental assessment and permitting process, the New Prosperity mine could be constructed and operated to the same high standards as other open pit copper-gold mines in Canada and British Columbia and that the province’s processes ensure that no mine is built or operated if it is likely to contaminate surrounding ground water.
The New Prosperity mine will be built one day because the deposit is huge and accessible and the world will need the metal. I will notapologize for advocating for the people of the province and especially the people of the Cariboo, who need good new jobs so families can stay in their communities as the pine beetle epidemic closes more and more of their mills.
When I advocate for mining, I am advocating for the people of the province, not a particular company. The letter writer, who is an NDP supporter, would do well to reconsider NDP opposition to mining.
When I was first elected in 2001 after ten years of NDP government, B.C. had six per cent of the total Canadian exploration investment at $29 million. In 2012, B.C. had almost 20 per cent of the Canadian total investment at $680 million.
In the last two years, we have opened new mines at Mount Milligan, New Afton and Copper Mountain. In contrast, during the NDP era, B.C. saw two mines close for every one that opened.
As for the mining industry donating to the BC Liberal Party, it is obvious why B.C. miners would be scared to death of another NDP government.
The NDP has never understood what drives our economy in B.C. or what keeps people employed in good jobs. If it was up to them, they’d say no to every project that comes along and then wonder where all the jobs went.
Bill Bennett MLA, Kootenay East