Natural Resource Forum Looks for the Positives
Prince George, B.C.- The 13th edition of the Natural Resource Forum in Prince George is only a couple of weeks away and will be looking for the silver lining in the recent cloud that developed with news of lay offs at the Huckleberry Mine near Houston.
These are challenging times for some sectors of the resource industry as commodity prices slip and forestry faces a reduced timber supply.
Still, Forum host, Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris is optimistic “Those are the facts of life, commodity prices are going up and down all the time, one of the positive aspects I see for the Forum and for British Columbia, is that we are diversified enough that when one sector is down, we’ve got another that’s kind of picking up the load a little bit.”
Morris says the Province is working with mining companies to see if there is anything that might be done to ease financial pressures in the short term. While discussions have been underway, there haven’t been any decisions made on any possible measures.
Right now we’re in a free for all with lumber in that there is no Softwood Lumber Agreement, I don’t see any loss in the forestry sector for this fiscal year, but next year could be a different story.”
Morris remains optimistic there will be final investment decisions on LNG projects in the not too distant future “That’s going to be a turning point, that’s going to be a brand new industry for British Columbia so there’s some good news there.” He also says technology and agricultural sectors that are “picking up slack while mining commodities are down, but it is problematic for us, it’s one of those facts of life that we here in British Columbia and right across Canada have to deal with, but I think we’re better positioned for it in B.C. just because of the fact that we have been so successful in diversifying the resource sector over the past decade.”
Morris knows there are many who are sceptical about LNG becoming a reality, but says the proposed projects could be a major boost “There’s a lot of steel involved in building these plants and pipelines. It may be insignificant in a global scenario, but in Canada it’s going to be good news because we are going to need more steel, more skilled workers. It’s a perfect storm that’s brewing in our favour.”
The Natural Resource Forum is set to get underway on the 19th at the Prince George Civic Centre. It attracts representatives from numerous resource sectors including energy, mining, forestry, natural gas, tourism and trapping. More than 800 delegates from First Nations and all levels of government are expected to attend. The three day event provides an opportunity to learn more about emerging issues and the plans for major projects in the year ahead.