VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 15, 2011) - Today the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) thanked the government for its recognition of the role that mineral exploration and development play in the economic recovery of BC and for its continued commitment to the construction of the Northwest Transmission Line. For the province to reach the mineral exploration sector's true potential in the future, AME BC called on the government to fund strategic areas.

"The mineral exploration and development sector is a leader in BC's economic recovery, but for it to reach its true potential, government spending is required in two key strategic areas," said Mona Forster, Chair of AME BC. Last fall, the government's select standing finance and government services committee recommended front-line resources to address permitting and First Nations consultation requirements and to extend funding of Geoscience BC. "The implementation of these key recommendations will help make BC a great place to explore," Ms. Forster reiterated. These recommendations were not implemented in today's status quo budget, which will provide the provincial government with spending authority during the transition to a new premier.

"Investment in geoscience is critical to BC's future, and can provide significant return on investment," noted Ms. Forster. "Just a $10 million investment in geoscience, $5 million each to the BC Geological Survey and Geoscience BC, will help return BC to its pole position in exploration in Canada and globally." Such funding will generate new and diverse discoveries and provide data that will help the government manage and protect Crown lands for the benefit of all British Columbians. "Increased funding for the Ministry of Natural Resource Operations and the Ministry of Forests, Mines and Lands also could ensure timely review and process of exploration and development permits," continued Ms. Forster. Each tax dollar invested in the province's mining and minerals division in 2009 returned $289 to the province's GDP, an indication of the wealth generated through mineral exploration and mining, according to AME BC.

Although the 2011 provincial budget is referred to as a status quo budget, BC's mineral explorers offered that resource tax revenue from future mines could ultimately help fund education and health, two cornerstones of the provincial budget. Resource tax revenue from minerals and mining is projected at $494 million for the year 2011/12 alone. "Mineral resources belong to every British Columbian, and we strongly believe government must invest in its own knowledge of the province's geology or risk losing huge potential economic generating opportunities," concluded Ms. Forster.

About AME BC:

AME BC is the predominant voice of mineral exploration and development in British Columbia. Established in 1912, AME BC represents thousands of members including geoscientists, prospectors, engineers, entrepreneurs, exploration companies, suppliers, mineral producers, and associations who are engaged in mineral exploration and development in BC and throughout the world. Through leadership, advocacy, and partnerships, AME BC promotes a healthy environment and business climate for the mineral exploration industry.

Contact Information: AME BC
Jonathan Buchanan
Director, Communications & Public Affairs