Officials Believe One of the World's Largest Gold Resources Is in BC

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". . .at least two "elephants" can be found in the northwest section of the province."

Exploration spending in British Columbia reached C$154 million last year with 30 mine development projects submitted to the provincial government.

BC Minister of State for Mining Randy Hawes said it was the "sixth-highest total for exploration spending in the last 20 years." However, it was still down substantially from the $367 million spent on BC exploration in 2008.

In a speech to the Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) Mineral Roundup 2010, Hawes forecast that rising commodity prices signal that 2010 will be a strong year for BC's mineral industry.

Bruce Madu, regional geologist for the BC Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, said at least two "elephants" can be found in the northwest section of the province: Seabridge Gold's KSM project and Silver Standard's Snowfield project.

KSM has 38.9 million measured and indicated gold ounces—believed by Seabridge to be the largest gold project ever drilling in Canada—and 10 billion pounds of copper. Neighboring Silver Standard deposits Snowfield and Brucejack are believed to have 20.3 million measured and indicated gold ounces. Combined, Madu said the projects create "one of the largest gold resources in the world."

The number of significant exploration projects in the province last year was 88, including 75 metal projects, six coal projects and seven industrial minerals/aggregate projects. There are six fully permitted mine projects. The ministry noted that eight mines have been opened or reopened in the last five years.

Meanwhile, 60% of Canadian exploration companies are based in the province, raising nearly $3 billion in equity capital or about 40% of total equity capital for Canadian-listed exploration companies.

Coal, copper and molybdenum are expected to remain BC's first, second and third most important solid mineral products by value.

"Over the next number of years, it is anticipated that British Columbia's mineral industry will continue to build a stronger connection to Asian markets and companies," according to the British Columbia Mines & Mineral Exploration Overview 2009.

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