[Note from Admin: The following open letter has been sent via dog sled to Premier Christy Clark and 19 other government and media locations. Its purpose is to draw attention to many unnecessary and onerous policies that restrict and place undue hardship on the placer mining industry in B.C.]
Dear Premier Cristy Clark,
We, the Cariboo Mining Association (CMA), are sending you this letter, partly by dog sled, in the hope that you will take serious note of our concerns as placer miners.
The CMA is centered around the city of Quesnel and has been actively advocating for and representing the placer and hard rock miners of the Cariboo – Barkerville goldfields since 1952, adding to and providing both a steady source of income for both local miners and businesses as well as furnishing the province with resource revenues that have not ceased to end since the historic 1860’s Gold Rush.
For the past sixty years or longer the region has been heavily dependent upon its forests as the prime source of revenue but as that industry is moving more and more into decline the search for placer minerals is once again on the upswing and along with the dramatic rise in the price of gold more and more people are once again staking ground and heading back to the hills in search of the yellow metal.
Mining is now fast becoming a major economic driver for Quesnel, and this fact is evident in the growing number of local businesses (seventeen to date) who are now supporting and sponsoring the CMA as corporate members. But for all this renewed excitement and activity we continue to be hampered by Government red tape when it comes down to actual planning and production. Therefore, as established, working miners we would like to bring to your full attention some of the more urgent and onerous government policies that plague our ability to grow and prosper. These include:
1. The constant threat of fee increases that target the established miners even though we have shown the unfairness of this practise.
2. The stymying effect of maintaining unreasonable and illogical limitations on the amount of yardage that can be mined on a cell in a season.
3. Being forced to pay a carbon tax on diesel fuel that we burn long distances from any urban centers.
4. Demands that we, as individual, small scale miners, negotiate with a separate level of government, i.e. First Nations, when it comes to obtaining the necessary permits to perform our work. And this in view of the fact that the provincial government itself has been unable to resolve longstanding treaty issues for close to a century and is now attempting to download its own responsibilities on to individual members of the private sector.
5. Government has closed long established placer areas and when asked why cannot scientifically or rationally justify their reasons for having done so.
6. Miners have been targeted as a cause of Caribou habitat destruction even though reclamation rules are in place to insure there are no ecological problems connected to our industry and meanwhile the government’s own forestry sector continues to carry out vast spraying programs of herbicides and pesticides that have long term, detrimental effects on the natural habitat of the region.
7. Government plans to deactivate access roads in mineral rich areas of the province when we view road accessibility as an asset to the prospector and ultimately, to the miner, the tourist and outdoor sports and recreation and fishing industries as well.
These seven concerns are some of the main grievances which the Cariboo Mining Association has concluded are preventing their industry from expanding and moving forward in the years ahead. It is our firm belief that mining opened British Columbia up historically and the continuation of exploration and utilization of the provinces natural mineral resources ought to be pursued by government in a reasonable and responsible manner to ensure that the working people of this province survive in these challenging economic times.
Cariboo Mining Association
P.S. The envelope and information card contained in this letter are considered collector items. It is suggested that you hang on to them.