Will mining turn around in 2015?

Red Chris (Copper/Gold)
Imperial Metals
Location: 80 km south of Dease Lake in northwest B.C.
Status: Red Chris is expected to begin commercial production in early 2015, following s

Tulsequah (Copper/Zinc/Lead/Silver/Gold)

Owner:Chieftain Metals Inc.
Location: Northwestern B.C. on the Tulsequah River near its junction with the Taku River, about 100 km south of Atlin

Blackwater (Gold/Silver)
New Gold Inc.
Location: 160km southwest of Prince George and 110 km southwest of Vanderhoof
Status: Citing the lower price of its key commodity, New Gold sa

Brucejack (Gold/Silver)
Pretium Natural Resources Inc.
Location: About 65 km north of Stewart
Status: Permitting is underway for the underground mine, and the project is in the mids

Kitsault (Molybdenum)
Alloycorp Mining Inc.
Location: 140 km northeast of Prince Rupert
Status: The project received its environmental assessment certificate from the B.C. government

B.C.’s mining industry looks to rebuild in 2015, after three tough years. Click through the slideshow above for a snapshot of projects currently underway

British Columbia’s mining industry is still smarting from a steep drop in prices of some of its key commodities such as coal, copper and gold. The latest downturn, now well into its third year, has forced many companies to slash spending across the board on everything from staff to capital costs, stall development of new projects and put some existing ones on hold. Examples include the delayed restart of Teck Resources Ltd.’s Quintette coal mine, which operated for nearly 18 years up until 2000, and the suspension of operations at Anglo American plc’s Peace River Coal mine, both due to slumping coal prices.

That’s in sharp contrast to early 2011, when commodity prices bounced back from the global recession, hitting record or near-record highs. Back then, miners were musing about ramping up operations and readying to hit the start button on a handful of new mines, including Copper Mountain in 2011, New Gold Inc.’s New Afton gold in 2012 and Thompson Creek Metals Co.’s Mt. Milligan copper/gold mine in 2013.

Association for Mineral Exploration BC president and CEO Gavin Dirom sees the next year or two as a “rebuilding” phase for miners in B.C. Companies will be re-evaluating the economics of new projects if metal prices stay depressed, while trying to find financing from tight-fisted investors. Meantime, the opening of the Northwest Transmission Line last fall is expected to help advance a handful of projects in northern B.C. “I think we’ll see a number of projects progress but not necessarily get into production or operation,” says Dirom.

While the market may be down, don’t count B.C. miners out. Many continue to plot their comeback, including the ongoing development of new projects on the horizon. In the slideshow above, we explore some of the more advanced projects in the province.