BC?s mineral exploration sector expresses support for mineral exploration in Flathead

Vancouver, BC ? April 20, 2009 ? British Columbia?s mineral exploration community today expressed support for continued exploration and assessment of the mineral potential of the Flathead Valley. The Flathead has significant mineral potential value to all British Columbians that should be considered and evaluated appropriately before any land use decisions are made that may unnecessarily alienate the opportunity to understand that value.

Important scientific knowledge gained through responsible mineral exploration provides the public with a better understanding of the naturally-occurring mineral resource values in a region and the potential economic diversification and investment opportunities.

?For the benefit of all citizens, the hidden value of minerals should be properly evaluated and considered as part of any discussion about land access and use,? said Gavin C. Dirom, President & CEO of the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC). ?Along with recognizing other societal values, we need to better understand and be informed about the various mineral development opportunities that exist in the Flathead.?

Proper assessment of mineral exploration or proposed mining projects is essential to determine the mineral potential in this region. Disallowing adequate assessment denies the validity of science and undermines the environmental assessment and community consultation process. Modern Canadian mineral exploration and mining activities are conducted in a safe and responsible manner, protecting the surrounding environment while they are providing the basic materials that we all use in our advanced society of the 21st century. At present, British Columbia has a stringent environmental assessment process in place. The regulations and policies here are some of the most rigorous in the world.

?In the East Kootenays, mining is the major provider of family sustaining jobs. The Flathead is living proof that an integrated land base works and still retains its wildlife and environmental values,? added Ross Stanfield, President of the East Kootenay Chamber of Mines.

BC?s world-class mineral exploration and mining sector will continue to dialogue with the public, industry and governments in British Columbia and Montana to help build a safe, prosperous and beneficial mineral exploration and mining industry.

?A mineral deposit is very rare and valuable and the reality is that the likelihood of an exploration project becoming an operating mine is very low, but the potential benefits to a region can be very high indeed and need to be considered.? concluded Dirom.

About AME BC: AME BC represents thousands of members including geoscientists, prospectors, engineers, entrepreneurs, exploration companies, suppliers, mineral producers, and associations who are engaged in mineral exploration in BC and throughout the world. Through leadership, partnerships, and advocacy, AME BC promotes a healthy environment and business climate for the mineral exploration industry. AME BC is the predominant voice of mineral exploration in British Columbia.

Quick Mining Facts

British Columbia is Canada?s largest producer of copper; its only producer of molybdenum and the largest exporter of coal. Source: BC Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources

The total value of solid mineral production for British Columbia for 2008 is estimated at $5700 million. Source: BC Ministry of Energy, Mines & Petroleum Resources

There are 24 mining projects in BC currently under environmental review or in the permitting process. Source: Government of Canada

Mine reclamation is a fundamental part of the mining life cycle in British Columbia. The Technical & Research Committee on Reclamation (TRCR) has been dedicated to excellence in mine reclamation in B.C. since 1977.

Source: Technical and Research Committe on Reclamation

Actual land usage for a mine is extremely small relative to the area explored ? less than 28,000 hectares are currently being used by mining which is less than 0.03%of BC?s total land base.

Source: Government of British Columbia

850+ mining development and exploration company offices are located in Vancouver, BC.

Source: Government of Canada

Major minerals produced in BC (as a % of Canada?s production): Coal (66%); Copper (40%); Silver (50%); Gold, Lead, Molybdenum & Zinc.

Source: Mining Association of BC

Coal represents a third of the industrial traffic at the Port of Vancouver, the largest port in Canada.

Source: Vancouver Port Authority

For 2007 the government of BC estimated a 57% increase in provincial exploration expenditure of $416 million up from $220 million in 2006

Source: Government of British Columbia