Times are tough in B.C.'s mining sector but today the B.C. government announced a measure it hopes will help companies struggling with the downturn.

Premier Christy Clark says a program is in the works to allow mines to defer their electricity bills during bad times.

"[We] are working on a plan so that mines can defer some of their very considerable power costs until commodity prices bounce back," Clark told the conference.

Clark made the announcement at the opening of the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia's Roundup Conference at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Speaking to a room full of mining professionals Clark described the program as a "last resort" for companies, and said it was important for government to "get it right" and not put taxpayers at risk.

Clark also announced the extension of the mining exploration tax credit and the B.C. mine flow-through share tax credit.

"It has been a rough year for mining in Canada," she said. "We know when a mine goes to waste all those mines and all those communities that have been founded on a mine disappear over night."