British Columbia to invest $5 million in funding Geoscience BC


VICTORIA -- To further support its work in encouraging mineral, coal, and oil and gas exploration investment in British Columbia (B.C.) through the collection and distribution of publicly available geoscience data, Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett announced today that the Province will provide $5 million in funding to Geoscience BC.

For more than a decade, Geoscience BC, an independent non-profit society, has worked in partnership with First Nations, local communities, governments, academia and the resource sector to unlock the province's resource potential through the generation, interpretation and delivery of publicly available earth science information. The upfront earth science produced by Geoscience BC provides valuable information that enables the resource sector to better target its exploration activities.

Geoscience BC helps B.C.'s resource projects get to "yes", ensuring the growth of a strong resource sector and, in turn, building on the long- term prosperity of the province.

In the last 10 years, Geoscience BC has completed more than 135 projects and generated new earth-science data for more than 50% of the province, significantly advancing knowledge of B.C.'s geology and resource potential for the benefit of all British Columbians.

Last year, for example, Geoscience BC completed an airborne geophysical survey of an 8,000 km2 area in the Peace region to map the 3D configuration of freshwater aquifers. This vital information has provided a new understanding of groundwater in the area, which will help First Nations, local communities, governments and the resource sector make more informed decisions on the sustainable use, management and protection of the province's valuable water resources.

Geoscience BC's water monitoring and saline water sourcing projects in northeast B.C., supporting natural gas development, have resulted in more than $100 million in energy sector investment in infrastructure for sustainable water use.

Geoscience BC is also sampling the gas fields and gas pools in northeast B.C. to identify gas sources known as "fugitive" gas emissions. By obtaining a fingerprint of each source's carbon isotope, researchers can identify where these emissions originated. Fugitive gases can then be curtailed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and help operators optimize their revenue stream.

In west-central B.C., Geoscience BC's Search project is helping identify mineral potential in the region and provide important information that will guide future resource decisions and encourage mineral exploration. This summer, Geoscience BC will launch its largest airborne magnetic survey to date. The Search II project will survey a 24,000 km2 area north to Pathway Lake and south to Ootsa Lake above Tweedsmuir Provincial Park and east-west from Fort Fraser to Smithers - an area equivalent to 75% the size of Vancouver Island.

Today's funding will support Geoscience BC's ongoing work in mineral, oil and gas exploration, and water management to foster more informed resource management decisions that continue to attract investment to B.C.

Geoscience BC was established in 2005 through a $25-million investment from the B.C. government. Since that time, and including the funding announced today, the Province has provided it with more than $60 million in funding to help further mineral and energy geoscience initiatives. Geoscience BC projects complement work done by the British Columbia Geological Survey. B.C. is the only province in Canada that uses an organization such as Geoscience BC to assist in the delivery of public geoscience.

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