Despite 2012’s weakness for venture capital in global mining, British Columbia’s mineral exploration spending succeeded in hitting a second record-year high in 2012 at $680 million—a 47% increase over $463 million in 2011. The province will additionally surpass the rest of Canada in mineral exploration by 2020.

Canada’s conference board had more good news for the province: Metal and non-metallic mineral output, it noted, will grow 91% in seven years. Meanwhile, B.C. mining output is predicted to increase 300% over the corresponding period. Within the sector, jobs are also forecast to quadruple to 4,800 by 2020.

“It’s a huge vote of confidence in British Columbia,” said Michael McPhie, chair of the province’s Association of Mineral Exploration. “To get that level of spending when the world economy is in such great turmoil speaks volumes to British Columbia’s position as a global center for exploration and mining.”

The province now draws 25% of Canada’s expenditures, up from 5% in the late-1990s, with three new mines in production since 2011. British Columbia also hosts 50 to 55 advanced exploration projects, according to Bruce Madu, director of mineral development at the provincial energy and mines ministry.

At an annual GDP of $4.4 billion in 2011, mining is expected to reach $8.5 billion by 2020. Premier Christy Clark has also announced a $7 million investment to streamline permitting processes for water, land and mining exploration

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