Dear Editor,

I see the 26th annual Kamloops Exploration Conference starts on Tuesday and I am reminded of what mining and exploration does for all of us in B.C. and why we need to keep this in mind as we consider the upcoming provincial election on May 14. For example, we need to support the mining and exploration policies that are responsible for the re-opening of Teck Resources (now New Gold’s) Afton mine, New Afton.

Thanks to the provincial government’s forward looking, non-protectionist policy, New Gold began production of New Afton last year. And over the next 12 years, the mine is expected to produce 85,000 ounces of gold and 75 million pounds of copper per year.

Development plans for the project were truly a community effort and included extensive consultation with Kamloops community members, First Nations and the City of Kamloops. Plus, New Gold provides ongoing donations to various sporting, health and community groups, as well as scholarships and donations to the Tk’emlúps and Skeetchestn bands.

Out of a total of 380 employees, New Afton is also proud to say that over 100 are Aboriginal Peoples from the Kamloops area. They have trained 98 employees and are developing two levels of heavy equipment courses with Thompson Rivers University. This is truly an outstanding accomplishment.

New Gold – New Afton also pays $37 million in annual salaries to their staff, which supports B.C. families and countless small businesses in the Kamloops region. And of the mine’s $266 million annual operating budget, New Gold is proud to say that $60 million is spent in Kamloops and another $40 million is spent in the rest of B.C. Less than $20 million leaves Canada.

New Gold’s New Afton mine is one more reason why we should all support mineral exploration in B.C. and why collectively we must ensure the government of B.C. continues to support our communities through the advancement of exploration and mining.

Pamela Gardner

Burnaby, B.C.