Transparency in B.C.’s resource sectors is a boon for communities and investors

Our natural resource industries are among the most transparent sectors in British Columbia. This oft-overlooked characteristic of these industries benefits residents, communities and investors. 

I’m frequently asked how it is I’m able to retain so much information in my head about BC’s resource sectors.

The answer is simple: I don’t. I look it up.

From geoscience data releases to Mineral Titles Online, the Toronto Stock Exchange and Venture Exchange, BC Stats, the Major Projects Inventory and the BC Environmental Assessment Office there’s no shortage of information available online about our natural resource sectors.

These resources have incredible power when used in combination, in some cases allowing us to forecast sector trends – and pinch points in our communities – before they happen.

Want to know the health of a mine?

Hop on, check out the company’s latest financial filings and management discussion and analysis.

What’s their cost of production?

How does that compare with the prevailing commodity price and outlook for the sector?

If the two are butting up against one another you can bet there will be cost reductions and possibly job losses.

Now let’s take a look at the community where the mine is located: how dependent is it on industrial taxes? 

If it’s in excess of 50% a closure will have an impact on the tax roll and service delivery in the municipality.

Other valuable resources available online are the BC Environmental Assessment Office and the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency.

Together, the filings contained in these websites provide us with an incredible amount of insight into proposed resource sector (and other) projects that trigger environmental reviews.

Everything from a project’s layout to aboriginal consultation, impacts on flora and fauna, economic data and review hearings and submissions can be found using these sites.

Other handy tools include the BC Economic Atlas and the province’s virtual trade rep.

The atlas is a user-friendly mapping app that allows users to layer economic and natural resource data to support investment decision making.

The virtual trade rep is a slickly designed storehouse of statistical information focusing on sectors and communities throughout the province.

Interested in knowing what’s happening in BC’s forests?

The Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations publishes forest analysis reports online for each timber supply area or tree farm license.

How about First Nations land claims?

The BC Treaty Commission website contains a wealth of information about BC’s First Nations, treaty negotiation status and areas of claim.

The National Energy Board website, Statistics Canada, BC Stats and various ministry websites, both provincial and federal, contain loads of additional information that can inform communities, business owners and potential investors about B.C.’s resource sector.

These resources encourage better community planning and inform conversations regarding resource development in our province.

They also provide a road map and certainty for investors, which makes BC a more attractive destination for resource industry investment than other jurisdictions around the world.

The transparency we have here in BC is extremely valuable, and certainly it’s one of the reasons these industries continue to be the backbone of our economy.

And thanks to these resources – and many more like them – economic development professionals like myself are easily able to stay on top of sector trends.

Joel McKay is director of communications with the Northern Development Initiative Trust

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