Maximizing our potential

The Cariboo region has an abundance of opportunities to expand mineral exploration and extraction as a means to offset any falldown.

The Cariboo region has an abundance of opportunities to expand mineral exploration and extraction as a means to offset any falldown in economic activity resulting from the mountain pine beetle. Along with the expansion of the Gibraltar and Mount Polley mines, opportunities exist for both new and expanded hard rock and placer operations.

Every mineral opportunity realized will create jobs and bring economic benefits to Cariboo communities. In order to realize this potential, however, mining must adhere to three basic principles: minimal ecological footprint, respect for First Nations rights and title, and maximum economic and social returns to British Columbians, who are the true owners of B.C.’s mineral resources. The evolving relationship between Mount Polley Mine and the Williams Lake Indian Band serves as an example of how companies can have productive relationships with First Nations. Spanish Mountain Gold provides another example.

The government has also recently taken a leadership role in addressing the First Nations referral backlog in the Cariboo region by assigning a specific staff person to this function for placer operations. However, the mining community has informed me that they still have “permitting angst” — that the permitting process is still understaffed and economic opportunities in both mineral exploration and extraction are being lost as a result. The industry also has concerns about a growing skilled labour shortage and fears that without a plan to address this, more temporary foreign workers will need to be used, limiting the social and economic benefits that local communities will receive from mining activity. A concern I’ve also heard is the increasing regulation and fees imposed on mineral exploration and small to medium-placer operations.

As we celebrate Mining Week, my hope is that the government will make sure the issues that may prevent us from realizing the full potential of mining in the Cariboo region are addressed, in partnership with miners, First Nations, and local communities.

Bob Simpson is the Independent MLA for Cariboo North.

Just Posted

Scout Island Nature Centre in Williams Lake. (Angie Mindus file photo)
LETTER: Scout Island is a nature sanctuary not an amusement park

Scout Island absolutely does not need an ice cream stand or a food truck

Professor Nancy Sandy of Williams Lake First Nation, seen here travelling on the land in Tahltan territory, is heading up the new Indigenous Law and Justice Institute at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont. (Patricia Squires photo)
WLFN professor named director of Lakehead University’s Idigenous law, justice institute

A lawyer, Nancy Sandy is also a former chief of Williams Lake First Nation

Lorne Doerkson is the Liberal MLA for the Cariboo-Chilcotin. (Black Press Media file photos)
MLA’s CORNER: Mining month in B.C.

Mining Month 2021 gives us the opportunity to learn more about how the industry is changing

Williams Lake Farmers’ Market manager Barb Scharf said Friday, May 7, she was glad to have everyone back for another season. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)
Farmers’ market season underway in Williams Lake

The Friday market goes from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Daily confirmed COVID-19 cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day rolling average in white, to May 12, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C. preparing ‘Restart 2.0’ from COVID-19 as June approaches

Daily infections fall below 500 Friday, down to 387 in hospital

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The warm weather means time for a camping trip, or at least an excursion into nature. How much do you know about camps and camping-related facts? (John Arendt - Summerland Review)
QUIZ: Are you ready to go camping?

How many camp and camping-related questions can you answer?

On Friday, May 14 at Meadow Gardens Golf Club in Pitt Meadows, Michael Caan joined a very elite club of golfers who have shot under 60 (Instagram)
Crowds at English Bay were blasted with a large beam of light from an RCMP Air-1 helicopter on Friday, May 14. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Marc Grandmaison
Police enlist RCMP helicopter to disperse thousands crowded on Vancouver beach

On Friday night, police were witness to ‘several thousand people staying well into the evening’

People shop in Chinatown in Vancouver on Friday, February 5, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver community leaders call for action following 717% rise in anti-Asian hate crimes

‘The alarming rise of anti-Asian hate in Canada and south of the border shows Asians have not been fully accepted in North America,’ says Carol Lee

Sinikka Gay Elliott was reported missing on Salt Spring Island on Wednesday, May 12. (Courtesty Salt Spring RCMP)
Body of UBC professor found on Salt Spring Island, no foul play suspected

Sinikka Elliott taught sociology at the university

The first Black judge named to the BC Supreme Court, Selwyn Romilly, was handcuffed at 9:15 a.m. May 14 while walking along the seawall. (YouTube/Screen grab)
Police apologize after wrongly arresting B.C.’s first Black Supreme Court Justice

At 81 years old, the retired judge was handcuffed in public while out for a walk Friday morning

Dr. Steve Beerman, of Nanaimo, shows off his Dr. David Bishop Gold Medal, awarded for distinguished medical service. (Karl Yu/News Bulletin)
Queen presents Vancouver Island doctor with award for global drowning prevention

Dr. Steve Beerman receives Royal Life Saving Society’s King Edward VII Cup at virtual ceremony

Most Read