Go north, young prospectors.
It seems they are.
Last week, the B.C. Association for Mineral Exploration (AME) held its annual Roundup.
For a third year running, the news coming out of the conference is good for the Northwest and, by extension, the Bulkley Valley.
Spending on mineral exploration was up to $180 million in the Northwest in 2019. And 79 per cent of that was dedicated to early stage and grassroots activity.
That is really important because, while we have a number of mines currently operating or in late stages of development, it is the prospecting, sampling and data collection that is key to finding new mining opportunities and long-term prosperity.
Mining may well be the economic future of the Northwest.
Of course, it has always been one of the cornerstones of our resource-based economy, but with forestry in decline and a growing commitment to phasing out dependency on fossil fuels, it is mineral mining that may hold the greatest potential for northern communities.
In fact, AME and a majority of British Columbians according to recently released poll results, believe mineral exploration and mining have a big role to play in achieving the provincial government’s 2040 “zero-emissions” target.
While all of this is cause for optimism, it does not just happen organically so The Interior News would like to take a moment to salute the Smithers Exploration Group (SEG).
This society of dedicated prospectors, geologists, miners, engineers, pilots, expediters, contractors, line-cutters, drillers and many people from supporting professions does a lot for this community.
In addition to representing area businesses that benefit from exploration and mining at Roundup and distributing its comprehensive business directory, SEG holds a number of events every year that attract industry people to Smithers.
They do outreach in schools, distribute bursaries, manage a collection of cordilleran rock suites that is an invaluable resource for professionals, provide industry advice to Coast Mountain College’s School of Exploration and Mining and contribute to the Smithers Community Services Association Christmas Hamper program.
The Bulkley Valley is very lucky to have the Smithers Exploration Group.