Prospectors bullish on critical-minerals exploration in B.C.

Vancouver Sun

B.C.'s mining sector is hopeful about prospects to capitalizing on the push for clean energy with eight new or expanded mines on the books

Derrick Penner, Vancouver Sun

Mining exploration was already heating up in B.C. before Ottawa released its critical-minerals strategy in December.

Still, the federal move stoked a metaphorical fire under the Association for Mineral Exploration B.C.’s annual Roundup convention that wrapped up in Vancouver last week.

“The mood of Roundup was certainly a very energetic and dynamic one,” said Jonathan Buchanan, vice-president of policy and advocacy for the association.

Buchanan said the strategy has been well-received by miners. Its aim is to promote the production of minerals essential to clean energy and green technologies, such as copper, nickel, lithium and rare earth elements.

It promises to speed up approvals of new mines, promote exploration and put a premium on Indigenous reconciliation.


And they need to be faster than the average 15 years it typically takes to open a new mine, Goering said.

Conservation groups are wary about speeding up approvals.

MiningWatch Canada called the federal critical-minerals strategy “an adaptation of business as usual” and warned it could bulldoze Indigenous rights.

The province already faces a legal challenge of its claim staking rules from the Gitxaala Nation, backed by seven other First Nations. They argue the so-called open staking process, which lets prospectors register mineral claims online without consulting First Nations on whose territories the claims lay, violates the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.


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