Canada's Mining Associations Praise Fed. Budget Mining Initiatives

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". . .a welcome signal to industry that Canada is open to investment."

Canada's proposed federal budget, which aims to slash its $53.8 million (US$52.2 billion) budget deficit in half, also contains several provisions that are designed to benefit the nation's mining industry.

Total federal spending in 20102011, including debt charges, will hit $280.5 billion, almost $13 billion over the fiscal year that ends March 31st.

In the budget document presented by Finance Minister Jim Flaherty Thursday, the Canadian Government declared, "Canada's rich mineral resources represent significant economic opportunities. Promoting the exploration and development of these resources offers important benefits in terms of employment, investment and infrastructure, especially for rural and remote communities."

Budget 2010 proposed to extend the temporary 15% Mineral Exploration Tax Credit (METC) to March 31, 2011. The credit is designed to assist junior mining companies in raising new equity through the issuance of flow-through tax shares.

The program only applies to preliminary mineral exploration activities conducted from ground level or aboveground level. Expenses for underground exploration or for the purpose of bringing a mine into production are also excluded.

The estimated net cost of extension of the credit will be $65 million over the next two fiscal years.

The budget also allocates $12 million over two years to Natural Resources Canada to renew the Targeted Geoscience Initiative, with a focus on developing new ways of exploring for deeper mineral deposits.

Association for Mineral Exploration British Columbia (AME BC) CEO Gavin Diron said the announcement was "a welcome signal to industry that Canada is open to investment."

He also noted, "The federal budget represents several steps in the right direction to ensure that safe and modern mineral exploration and mining continue to benefit all Canadians."

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