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It’s been a good couple of weeks for BC mining. AME BC put on a tremendous Roundup last week, entirely virtual and by any measure a success. This week, the annual BC Natural Resources Forum was also held online, with keynotes and panels packed full of insights.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the lives of every British Columbian. In BC’s mining sector, the pandemic prompted our members to take extensive measures to prevent transmission and protect the health and safety of our employees and nearby communities, while maintaining safe operations to keep British Columbians working.

We’re all in this together

COVID-19 has demonstrated the resilience of our industry, the commitment of our employees and the vital connections that keep our industry standing together and BC’s economy moving forward. Despite physical distancing, the pandemic has shown we’re all in this together—with our employees, our communities, and our indigenous partners.

Mine Rescue Week 2019 kicked off on Thursday May 30th, and this year marked the 64th annual Provincial Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition in Williams Lake, British Columbia with Mine Rescue teams competing to qualify in their respective zones for the final event on Saturday.

The Mine Rescue and First Aid Competition is focused on team knowledge of the Western Canada Mine Rescue Manual in three main categories: three person first aid, surface mine rescue and underground mine rescue.

British Columbia’s miners are innovators. From the invention of the walkie-talkie by Donald Hings at the Consolidated Mining & Smelting Co. in Trail in 1937 to today’s use of artificial intelligence and machine learning at our province’s mine sites, British Columbia’s miners continue to lead the world in the development and use of advanced
technology in Canada’s natural resource sector. 

In January 2019, the Provincial government released the Mining Jobs Task Force Report outlining twenty-four recommendations which begin to address key the competitiveness challenges facing BC's mining industry – five of these are already being put into action.  This was followed last week by the Federal government’s release of the Canadian Minerals and Metals Plan which sets out our national strategic vision for Canada’s mining sector as a global leader. Both reports reflect the recognition by our Provincial and Federal governments of the important contribution that mining continues to make to the economic and social well-being of all of our communities.  They also rightly recognize the important role mining plays in providing jobs and prosperity for Indigenous peoples and communities.

The Minister of Natural Resources is road tripping around the country, and recently stopped in BC to learn about the innovation and opportunities in the mining sector in British Columbia. The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi picked up MABC President and CEO Bryan Cox in the passenger seat for a drive around Vancouver’s Lower Mainland to learn about how mining drives the BC economy.

In the global mining industry, when it comes to competitiveness, we know there are a lot of forces at play. Mining companies do not set the price at which their goods are sold; they are set by the global commodity market, regardless of the cost of production within any given jurisdiction. Commodity prices go up and down, while the cost of doing business, and trade disputes can have lasting impacts on our sector. Mining companies in B.C. have become incredibly skilled over the years in mitigating the impacts, however, they remain uniquely susceptible a multitude of forces over which they have little or no control.   

May was the first ever BC Mining Month and the Mining Association of BC had the pleasure of celebrating the BC mining industry with events across the province. From our annual Mining Person of the Year Award Reception to the Teck Celebrity Pie Throw, we participated in events all across BC, recognizing the people and communities that build and support this province through this foundational industry every day.

MABC kicked off BC Mining Month with the Mining Person of the Year Award Reception, honouring Bob Quartermain for his many contributions to the industry and his integral role in the development of the Brucejack Mine.