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For Immediate Release
April 18, 2008
Office of the Premier
SMITHERS – The Province is supporting mineral exploration work in pine beetle-affected areas of the province with $6 million for Geoscience BC’s QUEST West program, said Premier Gordon Campbell as he presented the funding to Geoscience BC at the Minerals North Conference today.“Today we are building on the success of the QUEST project, which has resulted in 820,000 hectares of mountain pine beetle-infested forest being staked for mineral exploration,” said Campbell. “QUEST West will continue this important geoscience research, help us to discover untapped mineral potential, attract new investment and support the economic diversification of pine beetle affected communities in B.C.”
The new QUEST West funding will be used to generate new geoscience data, covering approximately 40,000 square kilometres extending from Vanderhoof-Fort St James to Terrace and including the communities of Fraser Lake, Burns Lake, Granisle, Houston, Telkwa and Smithers.
In June 2007, Geoscience BC, in partnership with the Province, launched the largest public geoscience project in the history of British Columbia. The $5 million QUEST (Quesnellia Exploration Strategy) program is producing geoscience information to help identify the untapped mineral potential beneath the mountain pine beetle-infested forests of British Columbia. Since the launch, the QUEST team has surveyed over 46,000 square kilometres in central B.C. Skyrocketing claims in QUEST’s geophysical survey area demonstrate the exploration industry’s interest in the area’s potential for copper-gold mineral discoveries.
“The QUEST West Project will undertake a series of regional geoscience surveys designed to attract the mineral exploration industry into this region,” said ‘Lyn Anglin, president and CEO of Geoscience BC. “New geoscience data is key to attracting exploration interest, which will help to diversify the economy and ensure the sustainability of the region.”
QUEST West is a partnership between the Province, Geoscience BC, the Northern Development Initiative Trust and communities through the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako and the Terrace Economic Development Authority (TEDA). These partnerships will support QUEST-West geoscience projects.
“The QUEST West Project was identified as a priority project for the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako because of the positive impacts this project can produce, including increased global competitiveness of our region, new mineral staking, increased exploration and ultimately the diversification of our economy,” said Eileen Benedict, chair of the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako. “The Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako is very confident about growth of the mining sector in our area and we look forward to beginning this exciting project with Geoscience BC.”
The Northern Development Initiative Trust is providing the Regional District of Bulkley-Nechako with a grant of $750,000 to support the work of QUEST-West.
“New inventories of geoscience data are putting our region on the mining world’s radar screen and we look forward to supporting exploration companies and new mine developments that will drive our economy forward,” said Sharon Smith, mayor of Houston and Northern Trust board director.
The Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Regional District of Kitimat Stikine are also providing a grant of $10,000 to the Terrace Economic Development Authority who, along with $5,000 of their money in profits from last year’s Minerals North Conference, will partner with Geoscience BC to reanalyze archived government stream sediment samples with modern geochemical analytical techniques.
“To be able to leverage the funds raised through our 2007 Minerals North Conference with Geoscience BC and the BC Geological Survey (BCGS) into the creation of a comprehensive data resource of the Terrace area for exploration companies has been exciting for us,” said Lael McKeown, director of TEDA. “We would like to thank the Northern Trust, Geoscience BC and BCGS for their support of our projects.”
The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, through the BC Geological Survey, will continue its support of QUEST-West by providing expertise and producing new geology maps and mineral deposit studies.
Established with a $25-million grant from the Province, Geoscience BC is an industry-led organization that conducts geoscience projects in partnership with industry, academia, government, First Nations and communities. Since 2005, Geoscience BC has led and/or funded a total of 38 geoscience projects valued at over $15 million.
British Columbia’s mineral exploration activity reached a record high of nearly $416 million on 472 exploration projects in 2007. Of this, $170 million was spent on 144 projects in the northwest and nearly $95 million was spent on 88 projects in the central region of the province.
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