PROVINCIAL business and community leaders came together on Tuesday to encourage the Government of Canada to approve the New Prosperity project and to raise awareness of how mining drives B.C.’s social and economic well-being.

The federal minister of environment and the federal cabinet are expected to make a decision on whether to approve the New Prosperity project within the next few months.

“We’ve come together to send a clear message to Ottawa: Our province needs this project,” said John Winter, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce. “It’s our collective view that the New Prosperity project must be evaluated with full consideration for both the great social and economic benefits it would create and for B.C.’s proven track record of building and operating mines in a safe and environmentally sound manner.”

The New Prosperity project is a proposed open-pit copper-gold mine near Williams Lake that would employ 700 people during construction and support 500 full-time direct jobs and 1280 indirect jobs for many years to come.

Winter said the project’s value is magnified by the economic need in the region.

“Communities in the Cariboo have been hard hit by the mountain pine beetle epidemic and are looking for ways to regroup and rebuild,” Winter said. “Our Williams Lake and South Cariboo Chambers have been working tirelessly, with the support of the Quesnel Chamber, to explain how much the region needs the jobs and opportunities that New Prosperity represents.”

Kerry Cook, Mayor of Williams Lake, also spoke about the value of the project to the region.

“We view the New Prosperity project as an opportunity to provide new jobs, training opportunities and enhanced economic activity,” she said.  “In addition, it is a project that affords our region – municipalities and First Nations communities alike – an opportunity to work together and address common challenges we face in terms of job growth, business and community development.”

Winter noted that New Prosperity is just one example of the critical role that mining plays in B.C.’s economy and in its communities.

“We know first-hand how important mining is to our province and we need to continue to attract and support resource development and investment,” Winter said. “Mining sustains dozens of small towns across British Columbia, providing the well-paying jobs and investment that support recreation centres, libraries and other services that make these communities great places to live, work and raise a family.”

Mining provides approximately 30,000 well-paying, secure jobs throughout British Columbia with average salaries of over $100,000. Mining is one of the most important industries in the province and needs the support of every level of government.

British Columbia’s mining industry is respected around the world for its leading safety and environmental protection practices that take place on a daily basis at dozens of mines across the province.

“B.C. mines are world leaders in sustainable development and environmental stewardship,” said Karina Brino, president and CEO of the Mining Association of BC. “We take every precaution to assess risk and mitigate any potential effect on the environment and we are committed to responsible and sustainable development.”