The British Columbia Critical Minerals Strategy aims to take a future-oriented approach that will provide enrichment to the entire value-chain and generational benefits to the whole province. This will be achieved through driving actions in the following six areas of focus:
1. Advancing Recognition and Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples
Advancing recognition and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples is an utmost priority of the Strategy. This will be bolstered on a greater scale by upholding the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Furthermore, the Strategy will highlight opportunities to grow the critical minerals value chain, with the goal of seeing greater First Nations participation in critical minerals development through the respect and recognition of First Nations rights and titles. This will be supported through developing trust-based relationships that respect and uphold the title and rights of First Nations communities, increasing opportunities to promote further partnerships, and advancing an economic foundation (such as opportunities to create provincial targeted programs that build on revenue sharing and federal initiatives).
2. Enhancing Public Geoscience
As public geoscience is considered the first stage in the mining life cycle and one of the principal enablers of mineral exploration, the province will continue to support and enhance public geoscience information. This will be pursued through sustained support of mineral exploration through the B.C. Geological Survey, which actively gathers data. Additionally, this will be further advanced through the soon release of a Critical Minerals of British Columbia Atlas, which will include detailed information on the province’s minerals found on the critical minerals list of key allies and trading partners and will provide a baseline of information on mineral potential. As additional actions, the Ministry is undertaking an economic and market analysis to build upon foundational geoscience knowledge, which will inform potential early prioritization efforts pertaining to minerals, resources, economic growth, low carbon technology impacts, employment opportunities, and value chain benefits.
3. A Competitive Fiscal and Regulatory Environment
The Government of British Columbia is aiming for its Strategy to reflect the initiatives in the federal version that will draw the global market, accelerate project development, and provide targeted support to the at times considered high-risk minerals investment industry. In order to create such a competitive and regulatory environment, the province is engaging in a wide range of activities that will support the advancement of near-term mining projects into final investment decisions and reconciliation with First Nations. Additional incentives implemented include the B.C. Mining Flow-Through Share Tax Credit and the B.C. Mining Exploration Tax Credit. Further consideration and exploration is being done by the Ministry as to whether there are additional fiscal tools that could go beyond the federal supports to advance the critical minerals sector in the province.
4. Innovation, Training and Environmental Stewardship
The province recognizes that the mining sector is transforming due to digitization, automation, workforce transformation, enhanced environmental stewardship, and the transition to a lower-carbon future. This offers an opportunity to enhance competitiveness, attract investment, and create economic growth while minimizing environmental impacts. While some likewise provincial efforts have been pursued, such as the Mining Innovation Roadmap and the Future Ready Action Plan, a recognition remains for the ongoing importance of collaboration between industry, educational institutions, and government agencies, especially in the development of training initiatives to address the specific needs of the critical minerals sector.
5. Infrastructure and Climate Action
Guided by the CleanBC Roadmap goals, the Government of British Columbia aims to invest in infrastructure opportunities for the mining sector. Potential supports of interest include power transmission and distribution systems, roads, port facilities, and in communities that are in close proximity to mines.
6. Public and Investor Outreach
As there has been an increase in environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing and risk analysis, the Government of British Columbia is currently establishing an ESG Centre of Excellence to ensure that socially and environmentally conscious and diverse investors are attracted to the province. ESG has been deemed key to the provincial expansion of the critical minerals industry and a means to rectify the found disconnect in public consciousness between the generated community support from technological advancements and the raw materials used to construct them. As such, the province is seeking to generate public support, spread awareness, and increase dialogues pertaining to the optimistic role of the provincial critical minerals industry.