VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 19, 2013) - The Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) expressed its support for the B.C. government's Balanced Budget 2013 that was released today. AME BC encouraged the government to continue its progress in improving the mineral exploration permitting process. "AME BC appreciates the confirmation of the government's target of a 60-day turnaround for Notice of Work applications in the 2013 budget," stated Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO of AME BC. "We again thank the government for the additional $7 million in funding to improve permitting that was announced at AME BC's recent Mineral Exploration Roundup conference. We encourage the government to further improve the permitting process and realize the benefits of online notice of work applications, improved First Nations consultation and multi-area, multi-year permitting."

Finance Minister Michael de Jong noted today that the balanced budget is a modest, responsible and achievable plan. "The provincial government has acted responsibly and prudently in light of a recovering and fragile global economy, increased health care and education costs, a return to the provincial sales tax and modest revenue growth," said Dirom. "Companies spent a record $680 million on mineral exploration in 2012 in B.C. The challenge now is to convert this level of expenditures into discoveries of new mineable deposits in B.C. that will help pay for the increased health care and education costs. As the provincial government works toward a surplus in 2013/2014 and beyond, we ask the government to provide continuing support of Geoscience BC and the B.C. Geological Survey in future budgets that will encourage new investment in grassroots mineral exploration."

"The industry is the largest private sector employer of Aboriginal people in B.C. and we anticipate that 4,000 highly skilled technical jobs will open in the mineral exploration sector through 2022," remarked Dirom. "As such, we thank the government for investing in educating B.C.'s children and encourage further investment in Aboriginal capacity building as well. The provincial government has shown leadership by improving permitting, and introducing new revenue sharing and reconciliation agreements with First Nations. We anticipate that with continued investment in mineral exploration and the opening of new mines, the stage will be set for renewed investment in Aboriginal capacity building and geoscience in future budgets."

About AME BC:

AME BC is the lead association for the mineral exploration and development industry based in British Columbia. Established in 1912, AME BC represents, advocates, protects and promotes the interests of thousands of members who are engaged in mineral exploration and development in B.C. and throughout the world. AME BC encourages a safe, economically strong and environmentally responsible industry by providing clear initiatives, policies, events and tools to support its membership.

Contact Information:

Jonathan Buchanan
Director, Communications & Public Affairs