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British Columbia mining and exploration sees resurgence

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Staff Writer |
British Columbia exploration
Canada   After years of stagnation

British Columbia's mineral and coal exploration industry grew last year for the first time since 2012.

This is according to the second annual British Columbiamineral and coal exploration survey conducted by EY, the Government of British Columbia'sMinistry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources (EMPR) and the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME).

The survey, released today at Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC) Conventionin Toronto, found that exploration expenditures across BC totaled $246 million in 2017, up $41 million (20%), from the year before.

Gold exploration accounted for $37 million (87%) of that increase, driven by increased activity in the province's Golden Triangle and Cariboo gold belt regions.

Gold's dominance in BC exploration is consistent with the global trend: gold accounted for more than three-quarters of the year-over-year increase in worldwide exploration expenditure in 2017.

Other metals also saw a surge in activity. Exploration expenditure on primary-silver projects more than doubled to $9.8 million, while zinc grew by almost 50% to $8.2 million, driven by increasing prices.

Coal exploration, however, decreased by 18% or $7 million. This had a significant impact on the province's Northeast region, where exploration spend declined by almost 75% to $2.4 million.

By contrast, the province's Northwest and Southeast regions were hotbeds of exploration activity, accounting for more than three quarters (77%, or $33 million) of the increased overall exploration expenditure.

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