Majors rediscovering British Columbia

Majors mining companies are rediscovering B.C. and targeting the province's large copper-gold porphyries.

The Province of British Columbia, Canada is experiencing a mining renaissance. What’s happening in the province, in regards to mining, should be on every investors radar screen.

Vancouver is undoubtedly one of the greatest mining centers in the world and British Columbia should be a mining powerhouse when one considers the province has favourable characteristics:

  • Excellent geology – British Columbia is mineral rich and hugely underexplored.
  • Good transportation system.
  • Reasonable mining regulations.
  • Competitive tax rates.
  • Strategic location with respect to Asian markets. Two modern ports, Vancouver – Canada’s largest and the Port of Prince Rupert which is the closest of any of North America’s West Coast ports to Asia – up to 58 hours of sailing time shorter.
  • High quality and easily accessible geological data.
  • Mining friendly provincial government.
  • Communities receptive to resource extraction as a livelihood.
  • Attractive exploration incentives.
  • BC is the third largest generator of hydro electricity in Canada – one of the lowest power costs in North America. Natural gas is plentiful, cheap and resources are growing.
  • Some of the most modern education and telecommunications infrastructure in the world.

Land claims of the First Nations remain a stumbling block in many areas – perhaps in part because so many claims overlap – but First Nations are now coming to understand and embrace resource development as a way to generate training, jobs and financial security for their people and their communities. While things are not always as smooth, dialogue is taking place and things are getting done – projects are moving forward.

About the sector, Gavin C. Dirom President and CEO of the Association of Mineral Exploration B.C., recently stated, “BC-based mineral explorers and developers appreciate the key measures that were announced in today’s federal budget. Maintaining the Mineral Exploration Tax Credit and reducing red tape will help sustain Canada’s mineral exploration and mining sector, encourage capital investment and ultimately benefit all Canadians well into the future.”

BC is taking the lead in regulatory reform – the largest cut in red tape could come from dropping the duplication of process in regards to environmental assessments. B.C. has taken the position that the province’s own process already takes into account the responsibilities of the federal government and that doing a second duplicate federal review forces a company to spend more money and time on needless duplication of process.

The process does work – three major mines are being constructed, six major mines are in advanced development, and over eighteen mining projects are in earlier stages of environmental assessment. In addition, there’s a very real trend by major mining companies towards making deals with junior resource companies that presently own copper-gold porphyry projects in BC:

  • Tiex/Newmont.
  • Novagold/Teck Resources.
  • Cariboo Rose/Gold Fields.
  • Terrane Metals/Goldcorp.
  • Kiska Metals (formerly Rimfire Metals)/Xstrata.
  • Serengeti/Freeport.
  • Strongbow/Xstrata.
  • Copper Mountain/Mitsubishi.

Copper-gold porphyries can offer both size and profitability. These kinds of deposits are one of the few deposit types containing gold that have both the scale and the potential for decent economics that a major mining company can feel comfortable going after to replace and add to their gold reserves.

Rick Mills

Richard Mills, author and host of Ahead of the Herd, is an active investor and commentator in the junior resource sector. Rick’s work covers the spectrum of company analysis and macroeconomics.

By Rick Mills

Richard Mills, author and host of Ahead of the Herd, is an active investor and commentator in the junior resource sector. Rick’s work covers the spectrum of company analysis and macroeconomics.

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