Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka takes over as energy and mines critic for the B.C. Liberal opposition. Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick moves from health critic to assistant deputy speaker. (Hansard TV)

GUEST COLUMN: Celebrating May as Mining Month in B.C.

Kootenay East MLA Tom Shypitka says mining is critical to securing the economic future

May is Mining Month in British Columbia. We recognize and celebrate the vital contributions of mining in our beautiful province.

Mining accounts for more than 30,000 jobs in B.C. and has significant impacts on suppliers and service providers in every part of the Province. The mining and mineral exploration sector has always been a significant part of British Columbia’s economy. The industry provides good, family-supporting jobs for people in communities throughout the province. The benefits of mining run deep, for 150 years mining has contributed directly to our province by ways of government revenue.

Mining also has intangible impacts as well, most importantly the relationships it fosters. Mining has been a catalyst in bridging truth and reconciliation with First Nations throughout the province. Meaningful partnerships and understanding have been fostered by way of mining projects, especially projects on traditional territories. Benefit agreements are being signed regularly, providing First Nation communities with a voice in environmentally and culturally sensitive projects. Mining has high concentration of indigenous workers compared to other sectors of our economy and also has promoted and placed women in high profile, corporate leadership positions.

In our efforts moving to a greener tomorrow, mining will be crucial. Critical minerals across BC and Canada are essential for our future and can be secured with competent regulatory processes.

BC is rich in resources and the workers in our province extract them better than anyone else in the world. Our environmental, social, and governance (ESG) is better than any other country. BC is poised to be a world leader. We are getting better all the time and will continue to do so.

I will continue to work hard to bring a more streamlined permitting process, advocate for more mapping and data collection, with a strong Geoscience program and ensuring BC has sound fiscal policy to allow us to compete on a global scale.

Please help me celebrate mining month in BC and to all those people associated directly and indirectly.

Tom Shypitka is the MLA representing Kootenay East