The BC government is allowing mining companies to temporarily defer a portion of their hydro bills to help weather a slowdown caused by low commodity prices.
Energy and Mines Minister Bill Bennett says the move announced today in Williams Lake is aimed at preserving jobs in communities across the province.
Bennett says some temporary support will help mines stay open as long as possible, hopefully until commodity prices bounce back.
Companies operating metal and coal mines in BC can defer up to 75% of electricity costs over two years, with the money to be repaid plus interest as commodity prices recover.
Bennett says there’s no guarantee the program will prevent mines from shutting down but it’s hoped it will help them stay open as long as possible.
Imperial Metals announced the shutdown of pit operations at the Huckleberry mine south of Smithers last month, affecting about 100 workers.
It says most of the remaining 160 workers are expected to be off the job by the end of August as Huckleberry is shutting down all remaining operations.