Mining in Canada’s B.C. remains strong, but facing labour, indigenous issues
The shortage of skilled workers is pushing some miners to hire foreigners.British Columbia, Canada’s most western province, had a strong 2013 from the mining industry point of view, as it saw several projects expand, as well as new mines to begin construction, which drove job creation.Minister of Energy and Mines, Bill Bennett, said the positions generated were high-quality ones and that several of them were filled by First Nations to the point that the resource industry employs more natives than any other sector in B.C.One of the highlights of last year was the beginning of production at $1.5 billion Mt. Milligan copper-gold mine north of Prince George, which generated 350 permanent jobs.The province added a number of operating mines made improvements to their operations last year. Both Gibraltar mine in the Cariboo and Line Creek in the Kootenays received Mines Act permit amendments that resulted in almost $400 million in investment and the opening of 650 positions.In 2012, mining was valued at over $8.3 billion to B.C.’s economy and exploration was recorded at $680 million, a 47% increase over the previous year and the highest ever.With exploration spending remaining strong in 2013, authorities predict mining will remain one of the province’s more important economic drivers in 2014.