The B.C. government plans to open a Major Mines Permitting Office to handle an estimated 10 new large mines expected to enter production in the next few years, Premier Christy Clark announced on Monday morning.
Clark says the upcoming provincial budget, which is subject to the approval of the Legislature, will raise funding for the Mines and Mineral Resources division of the Ministry of Energy and Mines by about $6 million to $17.1 million.
"This new funding will make sure we are ready to support these projects and ensure the safety of this important industry as it continues to grow," said Clark in a statement released on Monday morning.
"B.C.’s mineral exploration and mining industry is a great comeback story and today we have a significant opportunity to create thousands of jobs by opening new mines and expanding existing ones."
Clark's statement was released after she met with the Association of Mineral Exploration in Vancouver on Monday morning.
She also announced several other measures to boost the industry in B.C. including extending a $10 million tax credit program to support investment in mining exploration.
The announcement comes after a difficult year for mining in B.C. In August 2014 the tailings dam at the Mount Polley mine burst, spilling 25 million cubic metres of contaminated water and mine waste into nearby waterways.
The Supreme Court of Canada also recognized Aboriginal title extended to far more territory in B.C., effectively giving many First Nations a much greater say in the future of mining projects.
In 2011, Clark promised eight new B.C. mines by 2015 and nine upgrades to existing mining operations.