VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 19, 2013) - The BC Government released today a balanced budget for fiscal year ending March 31, 2014. The focus of the 2013 Budget is on eliminating the deficit, controlling spending and reducing the debt. Although this is a sound fiscal measure, the mining industry is cautious about the investment climate in British Columbia.
"The 1% increase in general corporate income tax to 11%, together with the return to PST and the carbon tax, as examples, directly impact the competitiveness of British Columbia mining sector," stated Karina Brino, President and CEO of MABC. "While recognizing that British Columbia remains in the top three jurisdictions across Canada in corporate taxation, we acknowledge that more demanding fiscal policies create hesitation in the investment community," she said.
While this government has been constructive in its efforts to support modest and sustainable growth in the mining sector, more attention needs to be paid to the effectiveness of the regulatory system. MABC recognizes the government has taken measures to increase staffing levels in natural resource agencies. We encourage the province to continue to make sure the right expertise and resources are in place to reflect the growing demands related to the review and permitting of major projects. Delays in permitting translate into increased investor uncertainty, making it difficult to raise capital for new projects.
Although 2012 industry statistics are not yet available, in 2011, gross mining revenues were reported as $9.9 billion. This reflects a $2.0 billion increase from the previous year due primarily to higher metallurgical coal prices and an increase in the number of coal shipments. Adding to this increase in revenues, the industry "stimulated the economy with an additional $3 billion in overall direct industry expenditures" to $9.1 billion. In 2011 the BC mining industry made total payments to governments in excess of $900 million, an increase from payments made in 2010. These contributions help balance BC Government budgets.
The average number of individuals employed by the BC mining industry in 2011 increased to 9,310 compared to 8,195 in 2010. The average employee earnings also showed an increase - $115,700 per employee up from $108,100 in 2010. According to industry sources such as the Mining Industry Human Resources Council, current trends tell us that the mining industry in BC will need to hire more than 10,000 new workers to meet the labour needs of the industry.
The mining industry benefits communities around the province by providing direct and indirect opportunities for economic growth.
MABC represents companies involved in the advanced exploration and development, mining and smelting of minerals, metals, coal and industrial minerals in British Columbia. It is regarded as the pre-eminent voice of mining in the province.