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Posted: April 6, 2016

The truth isn’t so rosy

Letter to the Editor

In response to former BC Liberal candidate Doug Clovechok’s statement concerning mining in British Columbia:

In my last MLA report, I restated the BC Liberals’ promise that by 2015, eight new mines would be opened, and that there would be 1,500 new jobs in mining. And I showed how that is a promise that they had not kept.

In his letter, Mr. Clovechok, who flew the flag for the BC Liberals in the 2013 election, takes issue with my numbers and regurgitates information that he has been handed even though he has absolutely no knowledge of the situation.

Since the last election, three new mines have opened: Mt. Milligan, Barkerville, and Red Chris. Where Mr. Clovechok is wrong is that in no way can New Afton and Copper Mountain be considered as ‘new mines’; they are reopened mines. A reopened mine is not what people would have expected when they were promised a new mine.

Although, I guess with this line of logic, any mine with a temporary shutdown can now qualify as a new mine, if Mr. Clovechok and Mr. (Bill) Bennett are talking. But that’s not being honest with British Columbians, and they both know it.

The BC Liberal record on mining has been incredibly poor. That’s what the numbers show. Rather than producing the promised 1,500 new jobs by 2015, we’ve seen a net reduction of 2,370 direct mining jobs.

Here’s the list of mines that have closed, reduced capacity, or are in ‘care and maintenance’ since the BC Liberals promised eight new mines:

  • October 2011 – Max Moly – 65 jobs lost
  • June 2013 – Treasure Mountain – 20 jobs lost
  • April 2014 – Wolverine – 415 jobs lost
  • April 2014 – Willow Creek/Brule – 280 jobs lost
  • April 2014 – Quintette – 80 jobs lost
  • September 2014 – Trend and Roman – 380 jobs lost
  • December 2014 – Bralorne – 60 jobs lost
  • December 2014 – Endako – 270 jobs lost
  • January 2015 – Gibraltar – 114 jobs lost
  • May 2015 – Mount Polley – 120 jobs lost
  • May 2015 – Myra Falls – 300 jobs lost
  • September 2015 – Kitsault – unknown
  • November 2015 – Highland Valley – 80 jobs lost
  • November 2015 – Coal Mountain Phase 2 withdrawal from EA – 100 jobs lost
  • January 2016 – Quinsam Coal – 66 jobs lost
  • January 2016 – Yellow Giant – unknown
  • January 2016 – Huckleberry – 100 jobs lost (care and maintenance)
  • March 2016 – Murray River – 51 jobs lost (care and maintenance)

These are the very disturbing facts concerning the state of mining in British Columbia. And it is rural BC that feels this situation most harshly.

So when the BC Liberals spend millions of taxpayers’ dollars on ads that tell us that the economy is booming and the best in Canada, I think people in this area know the truth.

Norm Macdonald,

Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA

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