British Columbia (BC) has set-up a 12-member mining jobs taskforce in an attempt to strengthen the industry in the province by helping ensure job security and viable mines.

The development comes in response to the 2014 failure of the Mount Polley mine tailings pond in the Cariboo region of the province and growing skirmishes with Alaska over the effects of pollution on cross-border rivers due to mining.

BC Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources Minister Michelle Mungall said: “Over the coming months, the BC mining jobs taskforce will work with first nations, the mining industry and communities to develop recommendations on possible actions government could take to bring more certainty to the mining sector and create good jobs for people today, tomorrow and beyond.

“One of our goals with this review is to find ways to ensure mines in BC remain viable when commodity prices fluctuate, so that people can keep working and communities can thrive.”

The taskforce is required to submit its recommendations on nine areas, including establishing baseline metrics to measure the status quo of the industry, and provide an economic impact analysis of the mining sector in the province.

“One of our goals with this review is to find ways to ensure mines in BC remain viable when commodity prices fluctuate.”

Other areas include skills training and development, a coordinated provincial approach to geosciences, and potential financial incentive programmes.

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The taskforce will also be responsible for advising on potential actions to be taken by the government to ensure the sustainability of existing mines and job protection during commodity cycles.

In addition, the committee will help identify innovation and partnership opportunities to improve the sector’s environmental performance.

More than 30,000 people are employed in the mineral exploration, mining and related sectors in BC.

The final report of the taskforce is expected to be submitted to Mungall by 21 November.