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Mining association disputes CCPA report on coal mines and caribou

Michael Goehring

The Mining Association of B.C. wholeheartedly disagrees with assertions made in report published earlier this month by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives.

The report claims that economic benefits of coal mines in northeastern B.C. have been overstated while impacted species, namely caribou, have not been adequately protected.

“The Mining Association of BC takes issue with the CCPA’s report, its misrepresentation of the facts and their inaccurate reflection of the mining sector’s commitments to the protection of caribou and caribou habitat and the communities where mines operate,” said Michael Goehring, President & CEO of the Mining Association of British Columbia, in a statement.

“MABC has been a strong supporter of recovery efforts for southern mountain caribou, including the Intergovernmental Partnership Agreement between Canada, BC, West Moberly and Saulteau First Nations. Our members have demonstrated their commitment by contributing over $6 million towards research, habitat restoration and Indigenous led maternal penning programs. They have also proactively surrendered, deferred or restored over 400,000 hectares of high value habitat, equal to 63 per cent of the coal license reserves in the Central Group herd area.”

He also takes issue with the Centre for Policy Alternatives’ claim coal mines haven’t delivered predicted economic benefits.

“This conveniently ignores the reality that low commodity prices caused the mines to close,” he said. “The resource remained in the ground, however, and upon reopening the mines support thousands of jobs, hundreds of millions of dollars in economic activity and tens of millions of dollars in revenue for governments annually. For the local communities of Chetwynd and Tumbler Ridge, this meant $140 million in revenue for 130 small, medium and Indigenous affiliated businesses in 2018 alone.

“The CCPA’s claim that government subsidizes mining is patently false. Our sector has contributed more than $4 billion in direct payments to government since 2015 – revenue essential to support the public services we all rely on. Provincially, B.C.’s mining sector generates more than $12 billion in economic activity annually and supports 35,000 high paying jobs in every corner of our province. Our low carbon minerals and metals account for 24 percent of BC’s total exports.”

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