Bruce Ralston, the Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, toured Gibralter Mines on Tuesday and then Barkerville Gold’s Bonanza Ledge Mine on Wednesday.
He took over that portfolio about six weeks ago and it was part of a province-wide tour of all of the operating mines in BC.
Ralston says one of the universal concerns he has heard is around permitting, specifically how slow it is…
“What we’ve committed to is to put some more money into hiring more people, not to lower the standards of safety or to lower the environmental standards, but to speed up the permitting process.”
Ralston says when you look at the kind of capital investments that some of these mining companies are making in terms of hundreds of millions of dollars, he understands why they would want to quickly get through the regulatory process.
He adds that it is to the benefit of everyone…
“Because the faster it’s approved then the faster those jobs are created and government gets revenue from an operating mine.”
Ralston says the need for more power is also something that Barkerville Gold will soon need…
“They are operating largely on generators at the present time. I am also responsible for BC Hydro, so that is something that I agreed to investigate on their behalf. Certainly the thought is to consider building a line out from Highway 97 near Quesnel all the way into Wells and Barkerville.”
Ralston says the increased power will be necessary when Barkerville Gold proceeds with its Cariboo Gold project that is currently in an environmental review.
It is expected to go for 11 to 15 years and employ more than 300 people.
Gibralter Mines currently employs 700 people.