Funding in the 2015 Provincial Budget will allow the establishment of a Major Mines Permitting Office, Premier Christy Clark announced yesterday.

Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, says the 9 million dollars will be very substantial.

“The money will be used to establish a better approach to permitting mines and major mines expansion.”

“We’re going to be able to coordinate permitting a lot better, I think. In addition, we’ll be bringing in more inspectors, we’ll be doing more inspections.”

As for if the August 4th Mt. Polley tailings pond breach had any influence on the Permitting Office, Bennett had this to say:

“I think the accident at Mt. Polley brought to the fore the need to make┬ásure that my Ministry is able to get out and do what it’s supposed to do in terms of providing the oversight in the industry.”

“I also think it would be a serious mistake for anybody to assume that the accident at Mt. Polley had anything to do with the Ministry or with inspections.”

According to Bennett, it’s safe to say that there’s a lot of support for mining in the Cariboo.

“I think that the Cariboo has tremendous potential for new mines and tremendous potential for existing mines”

“I think Mt. Polley will reopen when it’s safe to have it reopen, it will reopen and the folks that work at that mine will have their jobs…I think what’s happening at Gibraltar will work out; it’s a great mine.”

The Premier’s announcement yesterday also committed to extending the Province’s New Mine Allowance to 2020 which will support new mines and major expansions by allowing them to deduct 133% of their capital costs.

10 new mines are expected to proceed with development over the next few years.