VANCOUVER – The Province of British Columbia provided $160,000 to the Mining Association of British Columbia (MABC) to build stronger relationships with First Nations in the mining industry and to support the 2008 Mine Rescue Competitions, announced Minister of State for Mining Kevin Krueger.

?This funding will help MABC continue doing its important work in supporting mine safety and building relationships with First Nations,? said Krueger, who made the announcement during a keynote address at the MABC AGM. ?Partnerships with organizations like MABC help to make B.C. a mining success story, now and in the future.?

The $100,000 grant will support MABC?s work in engaging First Nations in the mining industry. The remaining $60,000 will be used to support the 2008 Mine Rescue Competitions. The competition brings together mine rescue teams from across the province to compete in several tasks designed to test their skills in first aid, extrication, firefighting, rope work and general mine rescue knowledge. This year marks the 42nd anniversary of this competition, which promotes safety and teamwork in the mining industry.

?Building relationships with First Nations and mine safety are both critical matters to the B.C. mining industry,? said Pierre Lebel, chair of the Mining Association of British Columbia. ?We appreciate the support Minister Krueger and this government provides us to improve our relations with Aboriginal peoples and ensure that mining remains the safest heavy industry in the province.?

MABC is regarded as the predominant voice of mining and related issues in the province. The Association has been instrumental in fostering positive relations with First Nations and improving the industry?s safety standards.

The Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources is committed to developing a thriving, competitive, safe and environmentally responsible mineral resource sector for the benefit of all British Columbians.